The Heartbreaking Ambulance Australia Story That 'Hit Home' For Lisa Wilkinson

For the past three seasons of 'Ambulance Australia', Lisa Wilkinson's calm voice has walked audiences through some of the most raw and emotional moments ever faced by frontline paramedics.

But despite her familiarity with the series, as well as decades of journalism experience, there are still stories that run the full gamut of emotions for Wilkinson, the show's narrator.

And in the latest season, which takes audiences behind the scenes of the Queensland Ambulance Service, there was one particular story that Wilkinson said hit very close to home.

In an upcoming episode, audiences are taken into the heart-wrenching moment an elderly mother, who has terminal cancer, is taken by paramedics to palliative care.

"Having been through such a similar situation with my mum, helping her out of her family home knowing that it was the last time she was ever going to be inside those four walls, that stirred up a lot of emotions for me," Wilkinson told 10 daily.

"Those paramedics look after this beautiful elderly woman with exactly the same care when my mother walked out of her home."

Lisa with her late mother Beryl and her three children. Photo: Supplied

Wilkinson's personal experience with paramedics is another reason she has so much respect and admiration for emergency services on the frontline, helping everyday Australians.

Wilkinson recalled a day a number of years ago when her mother had a very serious emergency that had the family needing to call on ambulance services.

"It wasn't just the speed with which they arrived," Wilkinson said.

"It was from the moment they walked into the house until the moment they delivered mum to the emergency door...  it's like they're looking after their own mother."

The way they speak, they never get flustered, they do everything with an incredible calm, that I presume always brings comfort to anyone they deal with.
'Reminds Us OF The Very best OF Humanity'

It's that unwavering care and professionalism shown by the paramedics both on and off the show that keeps Wilkinson coming back for more seasons.

"Despite often seeing the worst life has to offer every day they get out there with the same optimism and the same belief they're going to be able to fix whatever situation they're confronted with," Wilkinson said.

"To watch them at work is such a privilege and, having met a lot of them now, I feel I'm just a humble journalist and when I'm in their company I feel privileged."



Life On The Line: Triple Zero Operators Share Their Most Unexpected Calls

The 'other side' of the first response isn't easy. It requires being a great listener, who is able to stay calm and is always prepared to hear the unexpected whether you need police, fire and rescue or ambulance.

Wilkinson said the show's season has also reminded her of the reason she got into journalism in the first place -- hearing people's stories.

She said Queensland Ambulance paramedics receive more callouts than any other state in the country because the service is free. For the show, it means audiences see stories from callouts to not only the city but out in the bush as well, where people's voices are not heard as often.

'Shining A Light On Their Heroic Work'

Wilkinson said she also often receives feedback from parents who say the show allows them to talk to their children about difficult and sometimes confronting issues.

"I also hear from a lot of parents that their kids watch this show and see the magnificent work of paramedics and decide they actually want to be paramedics themselves," Wilkinson said.

In a time when many Australians have had to lean on our nation's emergency services more than ever before, Wilkinson said it's also a timely reminder of how the 'heroic' work of paramedics and other frontline workers often goes under the radar.

"They just quietly go about their work, they're never looking for headlines, they're never looking for a pat on the back, they just finish one job and go straight to the other," she said.

Wilkinson said the nation's recent bushfire crisis has reminded Australians that we probably don't appreciate any of our first responders as much as we should.

"Firefighters, paramedics, everyone who is called when we as a community are at our most vulnerable," she said.

"They do it because they love their job, they genuinely want to help, so they'll be the last ones to say that they want a pat on the back."

Image: Facebook/Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

But Wilkinson is optimistic that our first responders will be better recognised in future and believes Australians have now realised how important their work is.

"I think there will be a move to more appropriately recognise the very special work they do."

"Because they are a very special breed of people."

Ambulance Australia airs on Thursday at 7.30pm only on Network 10 and WIN. 

Lisa Wilkinson is 10 daily's Editor-At-Large.