EMERGENCY MEDICAL CHARITY EXPANDS INTO WATERFORD
Doctors to provide additional vital service for people in Waterford City and County
CRITICAL, the emergency medical response charity, has established a new team in Waterford and now has two doctors volunteering with the service in the county. Dr Paul Campbell and Dr Daragh Mathews have signed up to respond to serious incidents and potentially life-threatening medical emergencies in the county.
The doctors work closely with the National Ambulance Service and are tasked to care for the sickest and most seriously injured patients. They regularly respond to road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, farming accidents and other major traumas within 30km of where they live but can be called further if their expertise and help is required.
Dr Paul Campbell is originally from Tyrone, joined the charity at the start of the summer and has already responded to multiple incidents each week since then. He has been working as a GP in Waterford City since 2012 and has recently completed a Masters in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine from UCD.
Dr Campbell said, “Giving patients early access to specialist care at the scene of emergencies is hugely important. We live in a rural country with many people living considerable distances from hospitals. It’s minutes that make the difference, not just in whether a patient survives but in how quickly they recover afterwards. The equipment provided and funded by public donations to CRITICAL means that I can administer IV medications, take over a person’s breathing or perform other complex procedures at the scene. I’ve already responded to a broad range of calls in Co Waterford including crashes, cardiac arrests, a fall from a height, stroke and sepsis. It’s very rewarding to be able to give back to my local community.”
The owner of the Centra store in Dunmore East has agreed to sponsor the running costs of Dr Campbell’s emergency vehicle in memory of local woman Susan O’Donoghue who was assisted by the service in August.
Dr Daragh Mathews is a Specialist Registrar in Emergency Medicine with a particular interest in Pre-Hospital Critical Care. He graduated from UCC in 2017 and is currently training to be an Emergency Medicine Consultant. Daragh joined the charity in 2021 and has relocated from Dublin to Waterford in recent weeks.
Dr Mathews added, “It’s been exceptionally busy since I arrived in Waterford City. I’ve been tasked to incidents as far away as Enniscorthy in Co Wexford. The biggest change from Dublin is the distance we’re asked to travel to emergencies and just how far patients can be from the nearest emergency department. This means that we can provide critical care to the patient and stabilise them before arrival at hospital. It puts into perspective how important charities like CRITICAL are in rural parts of the country. Our aim is to get care to the patient early, work in support of the ambulance service but also add a layer of care – essentially bringing the emergency department to them. Patients can deteriorate quickly, but being able to provide a critical care doctor to the scene means that interventions which previously would only happen inside of the hospital can now happen at the roadside. This gives patients a greater chance of survival.”
The doctors will soon be joined by a number of off-duty paramedics, EMTs and Advanced Paramedics. Three National Ambulance Service staff from Waterford will be among the first group of Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders across the country to receive vital equipment from CRITICAL. The charity is providing each responder with an Emergency Backpack containing a defibrillator, a resuscitation kit and a medical diagnostic kit at a cost of €1,500.
Michéal Sheridan, CEO of CRITICAL said, “Our mission is to save lives. We’re focused on establishing a network of Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders in every county in Ireland over the next two years. Waterford is an example of what we would like to replicate in other towns, villages and cities. Here, we now have a specialist in emergency medicine, a GP who has considerable experience in pre-hospital emergency care and within weeks we will also have ‘Off Duty’ National Ambulance Service staff all volunteering to respond to serious incidents in their communities in their free time. Their equipment is entirely funded by donations and fundraisers carried out by members of the public in Waterford and across the country. It costs €1,500 to provide the equipment for each off-duty paramedic, €25,000 to establish an Advanced Level Doctor and €120,000 to put a new Critical Care response vehicle on the road. We are calling on the people of Waterford to support our charity in the knowledge that their donations will save lives in Waterford.”
For more information about CRITICAL or to make a donation visit https://criticalcharity.ie/