Coughing Parrot Confuses Paramedics On Ambulance Australia

When two Brisbane paramedics arrived to treat an elderly man for his bad cough, they thought they had a second patient when they heard another cough coming from the next room.

Jo had called Triple Zero after suffering a bad cough for four hours.

The 89-year-old had recently finished a course of antibiotics to fight a chest infection.

Queensland paramedics Rachel and Ben were tasked to help Jo.

Rachel said the elderly can be some of the sickest patients paramedics respond to because their bodies are aging and they leave it a long time to ask for help.

"They're also this tough group of people who don't like to ask for help and they don't want to be a burden on anybody," she said.

Queensland paramedic Ben assessed Jo at home. Image: Network 10/ Ambulance Australia

The paramedics' assessment of Jo is featured on tonight's episode of Network 10's Ambulance Australia.

When the pair arrived at Jo's home they met with his very worried wife Aileen.

Rachel told 10 daily it was a pretty standard call-out.

"They both and a chronic cough and the husband had chest infection to go on top of it," she said.



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Saving people's lives is not your average date night.

But as Ben and Rachel were assessing Jo, another cough could be heard coming from the next room with caught their attention.

Rachel went to investigate and was met with Charlie ... Jo's coughing parrot.

"What's less usual in this case was the parrot had spent so much time with the couple he mimicked their cough," Rachel said.

Rachel met Charlie the coughing parrot. Image: Network 10/ Ambulance Australia

Rachel learnt that Charlie was a smart parrot who was quite the chatterbox.

He had been able to copy the couple's chesty cough.

"To find out it's not a human but a bird, you can't make that stuff up," Rachel said.



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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.

While Rachel checked in on Charlie, Ben and Jo made the decision that a trip to hospital was needed for treatment.

"I really feel for couples who have been married for decades and decades and they need each other," Rachel said.

"So when we come in the middle of the night and we take one of them away, it must be a really scary thing."

Despite Charlie's 'cough' he was perfectly healthy. Image: Network 10/ Ambulance Australia

As Jo was leaving the house, he had one last thing to do.

"He gave his wife a little bit of a smooch, it's one of my favourite things as an ambo just to see that little goodbye," Rachel said.

Jo was treated for Influenza A in hospital and Aileen, who was also suffering a chesty cough, was admitted the following day.

The couple was soon discharged and reunited with a perfectly healthy Charlie.

Jo and Aileen were reunited with Charlie after a short stay in hospital. Image: Network 10/ Ambulance Australia

Watch Charlie and Jo's story on Ambulance Australia Season Three on Thursday from 7.30pm on Network 10 or catch up on 10 play.