'Broke our hearts': Sydney paramedic recalls devastating comment

·3-min read

A frontline healthcare worker in Western Sydney has described the harrowing scenes paramedics are facing when attending call-outs to Covid patients.

Joe Ibrahim, an intensive care paramedic for NSW ambulance who works on the frontline in Western Sydney's Covid fight described the often heartbreaking moments workers like him encounter during "demanding" 12-hour shifts. 

"I wanted to give your little bit of a perspective surrounding what our paramedics face and do on every single shift," he told reporter during Monday's NSW Covid press conference.

Joe Ibrahim described the scenes paramedics see 'daily' when responding to emergency calls for Covid patients.
Joe Ibrahim described the scenes paramedics see 'daily' when responding to emergency calls for Covid patients. Source: ABC

Mr Ibrahim described a recent call-out to a home in Western Sydney of a single mother who lived with her two teenage children, saying it "stopped him in his tracks." 

"She was deteriorating," he recalled. "I provided her time-critical treatment but while doing so, her son made a comment to me".

"I think this is my fault," the son had said. "I think I have given mum Covid."

"That stopped me in my tracks and stopped my team in our tracks and absolutely broke our hearts," Mr Ibrahim said, adding incidents like that are not isolated and often paramedics are required to provide a "shoulder to cry on" for the families of patients. 

"This is what paramedics see on the frontline every single day," he said.

"While paramedics are absolutely available to respond to you in medical emergencies and at your time of need, our preference is that you stay healthy and that you do not need to meet me or one of my team and do not need to be in the back of one of our ambulances."

Paramedic urges people to get vaccinated

Mr Ibrahim pleaded with eligible people to book in a Covid vaccination. In doing so, he said, you are not only protecting yourself but everyone around you, including frontline workers like him.

"Our role as paramedics is physically and mentally demanding," he said. "One of the most physical demanding things we do is perform CPR."

He went on to describe what it's like to perform CPR in full protective gear, which is required to protect healthcare workers from the virus. 

"To give you an understanding of what that is, we are wrapped up in a plastic gown that is not breathable. We [wear a] mask that covers a mask — not breathable," he continued.

"It is to ensure that the virus does not get into our lungs. We have glasses and gloves on. We wear this for the majority of our 12-hour shift and it takes its toll."

"We wear this to not only protect us but to protect our family, to protect the broader community and your family."

NSW records a record number of Covid cases 

NSW reported 1,290 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Monday, following 1,218 cases announced on Sunday.

There were also four Covid-related deaths in NSW.

There have been 93 Covid-related deaths during the state's ongoing Delta outbreak which began on June 16, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian predicted there will be more as intensive care units continue to fill with Covid patients.

"We anticipate that the worst month, the worst time for our intensive care unit will be in October," she said this morning.

The premier also praised the state's vaccine rates, with more than 6.8 million jabs now administered.

“Vaccination is the key in terms of our freedom and reducing the spread of the virus,” Ms Berejiklian said, adding the state is now nearing 900,000 jabs every week.

"That is outstanding," she told reporters.

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