Published: December 12, 2011
Burnham-On-Sea paramedic returns from medical work in Afghanistan

A Burnham-On-Sea paramedic has returned from war-torn Afghanistan where he has been training hospital staff in emergency medicine and the use of life-saving equipment.

Nich Woolf, 58, has been working with staff in a hospital at Mazar i Sharif, scene of a recent suicide bombing which killed three people and injured 17.

He is working with a charity founded by former ITN newscaster Sandy Gall, which provides medical assistance and rehabilitation for victims of war and terrorism.

Nich told "Our objective in Mazar was to ensure that the public hospital facilities were safe and the staff adequately trained for effective operations to be carried out in emergency situations."

"I taught sessions on resuscitation for about 50 surgeons, doctors, nurses and anaesthetists. It was interesting that while the signs and symptoms of a heart attack were unknown to them, maintaining the airway of a patient with gunshot wounds was second nature – and it illustrates their daily working lives in Afghanistan at the moment."

Nich lives in Burnham, but works for the Welsh Ambulance Service and is also a founder member of Festival Medical Services (FMS), a registered charity in its own right which raises money for medical causes around the world.

He took a large amount of medical equipment donated by the charity out to Afghanistan with him.

Nich said there were some difficulties with travel around Afghanistan and some delays caused to the transport of the equipment from England. Alcohol cleansing wipes were confiscated by officials because Afghanistan is a strictly Muslim country where alcohol in all forms is banned.

But he added: "There is no doubt that the work of the Sandy Gall Afghanistan Appeal is changing lives and that the training and equipment we took was vitally needed and gratefully received."

"The colleagues I met have been much in my thoughts this week as I know they will have been looking after the casualties involved in the bombing atrocity in Mazar i Sharif, and I know they will have done all in their power to save lives and care for their patients."


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