Ambo happy to work Christmas

By TAMARA KEMP

WHILE most Rockhampton residents will spend time with family and friends Christmas Day, Michelle Baxter will work.

As the presents are unwrapped from under the Christmas tree of Central Queenslanders, Mrs Baxter, a Queensland Ambulance Care Paramedic and acting group coordinator will be on the road helping people in need.

"It's part of the job, but I love it,'' she said.

"I wouldn't want to be working as anything else.''

A mother of two and a former registered nurse, Mrs Baxter joined the Queensland Ambulance 12 years ago in New South Wales as a student paramedic.

During her 12 years as an offi-cer she has worked eight Christmas Days.

"Our workload does increase during the Christmas season, but in particular, Christmas Day is reasonably quiet,'' Mrs Baxter, 38, said.

"On Christmas Day we usually assist with accidents involving kids and new toys and people choking on Christmas dinners.''

Mrs Baxter said while it was difficult juggling her job and family, she said being a paramedic was rewarding.

She said her two sons, Jack and Samuel, understood the demands of the job and often ask what jobs she had to do during the day.

"My husband Phil also works for the Ambulance Service as an Intensive Care Paramedic,'' she said.

"I love the job because I get to work with great people and help people every day.

"We often get thank-you letters and cards from those we have helped, particularly around this time of the year.''

Mrs Baxter said the job had its happy and sad moments, and she is no stranger to trauma.

One such experience happened six years ago in New South Wales just before Christmas.

The cab of a truck caught fire while a man on his son were inside sleeping.

While the father managed to escape, the son was not so lucky. "The man received burns to his back and his hand,'' she said.

"Our job was to move him (the father) away from the scene as quickly as possible to assist him and take him to hospital.

She said she was seven months pregnant at the time and the incident had had a huge effect on her.

Despite the hardship, Mrs Baxter said there were also bundles of joy that would come by in the job.

She said nothing beat the feeling of helping in the delivery of a baby.

"I have only delivered three, but Phil has delivered about 10,'' she said.

Mrs Baxter stressed the importance of staying safe during the holiday season and wished everyone to have a Merry Christmas.



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