Wild Medic off to Van­u­atu

Central Queensland News - - NEWS - Am­ber Hooker am­ber.hooker@cqnews.com.au

COLIN Salter has ded­i­cated his post high school life to health care and, af­ter serv­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties for more than eight years, the Capella am­bu­lance of­fi­cer-in-charge is pre­pared to em­bark on a life chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Joined by his “good mate” and col­league, Middlemount of­fi­cer-in-charge Chris Ful­ton, the two paramedics will be­come the first to vol­un­teer their time, skills and ser­vices with Pro Med­i­cal – the am­bu­lance ser­vice in Van­u­atu – through the Wild Medic Project.

Colin, a nurse of 15 years-turned para­medic, said he read an ar­ti­cle on the project ear­lier this year and con­tacted the founder Steve Whit­field to of­fer his ser­vices and skills.

He and Chris, who Colin trained with in 2007, will fund and vol­un­teer four weeks of ser­vice from Fe­bru­ary 2016, pro­vid­ing pre-hos­pi­tal emer­gency care.

“I just thought, oh geez that would be really in­ter­est­ing to give back to peo­ple,” Colin said.

“Apart from just giv­ing to peo­ple, I get some­thing back.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s go­ing to be a to­tally dif­fer­ent cul­ture, look­ing at dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments, how they deal with dif­fer­ent things com­pared to how we do here.”

Colin said he had “not a clue” what lay ahead for him­self and Chris but he ap­pre­ci­ated the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence a “dif­fer­ent world” and learn how his coun­ter­parts in Van­u­atu man­aged to pro­vide health care with their lim­ited ser­vices in com­par­i­son to Aus­tralia.

“I am not go­ing just for the fun of it,” Colin said.

Steve Whit­field said he and two friends and fel­low paramedics, Mick and Jar­rod, founded the Wild Medic Project in re­sponse to the Nepal earth­quake in April this year.

Af­ter in­ter­est from peo­ple, such as Chris and Colin, to of­fer their ser­vices in Van­u­atu, this op­tion had now “be­come a re­al­ity”, and they also ser­viced Mon­go­lia.

“We be­gan fundrais­ing to re­build a col­lapsed med­i­cal post in Nepal that went down in April and this is now the lo­ca­tion for our med­i­cal camps,” Steve said.

“We had a few in­quiries about other lo­ca­tions, which led us to ex­plore other op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing work­ing with the Van­u­atu am­bu­lance ser­vice.

“This has been suc­cess­ful and Colin and Chris will be our first Wild Medics to head there in Fe­bru­ary.

“The op­por­tu­ni­ties we pro­vide for paramedics in re­la­tion to per­sonal and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment is un­par­al­leled.”

Colin and Chris have been busy pulling to­gether a wheel­bar­row full of good­ies which he will raf­fle on De­cem­ber 31 at mid­day, to raise funds for the Wild Medic Project.

“They can use those funds for buy­ing med­i­cal re­sources like dress­ings and slings what­ever they need in places,” Colin said.

Tick­ets are sold in Capella, Cler­mont and Middlemount, or pur­chase can be ar­ranged by con­tact­ing Colin on 0401 163 755.

PHOTO: SARAH KEAYES

NEW HORI­ZONS: Capella Am­bu­lance of­fi­cer-in-charge Colin Salton (pic­tured) is set to em­bark on a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as­sist­ing Van­u­atu paramedics along­side Middlemount of­fi­cer-in-charge Chris Ful­ton. INSET: Wheel­bar­row full of treats to be raf­fled for Wild Medic Project.

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