'It's Amazing To Know You’ve Made A Difference': Ambulance Australia's Rick Taylor Details Life As A Paramedic
Premiering this month, Channel Ten's new documentary series takes a look into the life or death situations seen by first responders.
Almost 10 years ago, Rick Taylor was a Sydney electrician who yearned for a career change involving "more human contact".
He opted for arguably one of the toughest jobs of them all: intensive care paramedic.
"I genuinely like people and being able to get along with all sorts of characters from different walks of life is one of my strengths," Rick, 33, told ten daily.
"The idea of becoming a paramedic seemed like a good fit for me."
The critical work Rick and his colleagues do for NSW Ambulance Service is documented in Ambulance Australia, which premieres Tuesday, October 16 at 7.30pm on TEN.
The documentary series takes viewers through every step of a medical crisis: operators answering calls at the NSW Ambulance Triple Zero Control Centre, dispatchers managing high-pressure logistics of getting crews to patients, and paramedics on the road responding to emergencies.
Marrickville resident Rick works the CBD, Inner West to Inner East dispatch area. With an optimistic approach to such demanding work, he does admit call-outs can be extremely difficult.
READ MORE: Paramedics Grant Dying Patient Final Wish
"Sick kids are not fun," he acknowledged.
"A newborn resus[citation] we couldn’t save is hardest to forget. The poor parents had had multiple miscarriages before and were very hopeful for this pregnancy. When we arrived at hospital and it was decided that further resus[citation] was futile, the baby was placed on mum’s chest as it passed away. Very sad moment there."
Rick also revealed paramedics can be targeted with death threats and physical violence themselves, which has happened to him "a few times".
"I’ve had a patient pull out a razor blade and threaten me in the back of the ambo. You realise just how confined that space is in situations like that. [That was] the only time I’ve had to run," he said.
Despite the job having its frequent somber moments, he said he focused on what he loves most about being a first responder: helping people.
"It’s an amazing feeling to come home from a shift knowing you’ve made a real difference to someone’s life that day," he noted.
Perhaps surprisingly, Rick described the numerous "comedic moments" being a paramedic provided.
"You’ve got front row seats to the end results of some very poor decisions people make: 'You tried to jump to your friend’s balcony instead of taking the stairs?' 'You got WHAT stuck WHERE?' 'You smoked 15 bucket bongs and now you feel funny?'" he laughed.
One memorable call-out involved him being directed to a wrecking yard for a male who was "short of breath".
After being directed by the man's co-workers to the toilet where he was sitting and ascertaining he wasn't suffering any respiratory/cardiac conditions, it became clear the man was simply constipated.
"I had to call upon all of my paramedic know-how to coach this gentleman through the process of doing a poo," Rick recalled.
"This was a fully grown man with no cognitive impairment and nobody thought it might be overkill to call an ambulance for a poo half way out!"
Ambulance Australia premieres Tuesday, October 16 at 7.30pm on TEN.