Dr Erin Martin loves working in the emergency services field with the Westpac rescue helicopter.
Dr Erin Martin loves working in the emergency services field with the Westpac rescue helicopter.

Medic joins rescue helicopter team

NO TWO days are ever the same. That’s one of the things Dr Erin Martin loves about working in the emergency services field.

The 33-year-old emergency department doctor is employed at Lismore Base Hospital, but as part of her on-going training has been seconded to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter for at least the next six months.

Dr Martin is the rescue helicopter’s first woman doctor and replaces Dr Richard Mahoney, who will stay on one day a week.

Dr Martin joined her first ‘primary’ mission last Monday when the Westpac rescue helicopter was called to a motor vehicle accident near Ocean Shores.

“It can be a bit nerve-racking when we go out (on missions) because we only have limited information about the job before we arrive at the accident scene,” Dr Martin said.

“Other than that, it’s great; I enjoy the helicopter, and the crew are really competent. I can also potentially influence people’s lives in a positive way.”

Dr Martin hasn’t always worked in medicine.

She started her working life as an engineer. After just one year in the field, however, she knew engineering wasn’t for her and went back to university and graduated with a medical degree in 2003.

“Engineering was a bit dry; much less people-focused (than medicine),” she said.

“The attraction of emergency work is that it’s busy and you’ve usually got a great team to work with.”

The appointment of Dr Martin continues NSW Health’s policy of having a full-time emergency medical registrar on base, something that began with the appointment of Dr Richard Mahoney last July. Having both an emergency doctor and a paramedic on duty at the base allows crews to be airborne faster, which is good news for anyone in trouble.



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