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Flight Paramedic James helping out when every second counts

Flight Paramedic James helping out when every second counts

As one of our Flight Paramedics on board the Life Flight Westpac Rescue Helicopter, James helps his Wellington Free Ambulance colleagues provide urgent medical care when it comes to critical patients.

Flight Paramedic James

“The service has an incredibly talented, well-educated and passionate workforce. The best part of my job is being able to come along side my colleagues and help out,” he says.

After working as a Paramedic in the United States of America, his interest to see the differences of working in another country saw him move to New Zealand. 

He joined Wellington Free Ambulance as a frontline Paramedic in 2010 and worked his way through additional training to become a Flight Paramedic.

Our paramedics are called on when every second counts. When a patient is in a serious condition or in a remote part of our region, our Flight Paramedics on the helicopter are dispatched to ensure emergency medical care is there in the best possible time.

“The helicopter environment can be bit more challenging. While the speed of getting to a patient to the hospital is a big advantage to our critical patients, there are also significant physiologic stresses that the flying can cause on the human body – things like pressure changes, vibration, temperature; these can be hard on anyone let alone a very sick or injured patient,” James explains.

While on the helicopter, our Flight Paramedics cover the lower north island as well as the top of the south island. They can be called to urgent jobs further afield, if needed.

“Most of the flights I have been involved with have been around the Wairarapa; and some to the Marlborough Sounds. But there have been a few times I've sent my wife a text saying I will be late home because we’ve ended up taking a patient to Christchurch.”

James also holds his pilot’s license, so having the opportunity to be able to combine his paramedicine skills with his knowledge of the aviation industry is beneficial.

“It's very rewarding to be able to help people. Some days that's providing advanced clinical care to a sick patient while other times it’s taking time to provide reassurance and explain to a patient or their family what’s going on.” 

Over the last 10 years, James says there’s been a lot of personal growth.

“I've had several people invest in me to help me develop and grow as a clinician; my family have also taught me the importance of finding a healthy balance between work and life.”

Thinking about the best part of his job, James says it’s being able to come alongside his colleagues to help in emergencies.

“It’s about getting better together and continuing to provide the best possible care for our patients.”


It’s a privilege for Wellington Free Ambulance to work alongside the amazing Life Flight team – 24/7, 365 days of the year.



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