Meet the Crew: Ben Clarke
This month we would like to introduce you to Pre-hospital Care Consultant Ben Clarke. Ben has been a valued member of the team for five and a half years and continues to deliver the highest level of pre-hospital care to the people of Essex and Hertfordshire.
What is your role at EHAAT?
I am a Pre-hospital Care Consultant. There are five Pre-hospital Consultants that work for the Charity, each working one day a week. We work as Senior Doctors for the service and are involved in the training and supervision of the new Doctors starting at EHAAT. The Doctors generally only stay with the Charity for 6 months to a year so consultants allow for consistency with regards to their training. We also look to bring in innovative clinical measures, ensuring that EHAAT remain at the top of their game.
Tell me about your career journey…
I began my career in Australia as a Doctor after studying at the University of Sydney. I soon realised that the Emergency Services was where I wanted to be and so joined the HEMS teams Life Flight and Royal Flying Doctors Service. I moved over to England in 2012 to start working with the HEMS service at EHAAT for six months before spending a further six months with London’s Air Ambulance.
I loved my time here at EHAAT so I made the decision to come back and work as a Pre-hospital Consultant. The people are awesome.
As well as working at EHAAT one day a week I am also the Assistant Medical Director at London’s Ambulance Service for two days a week and Consultant in Emergency Medicine for BARTS and The London NHS Trust for the other two! It’s great because skills can be transferred across all areas of my work and it also helps keep EHAAT up to speed with new procedures.
What sparked your initial career decision?
My mum inspired me to be a Doctor. She was always coming home telling me different radiographer stories… I found her work fascinating. What attracted me to the Emergency Services was the acute care of patients. It’s both interesting and challenging as you never know what’s going to be the next case, they can all be held on their individual merit.
Do you have a favourite moment/stand out case?
It has to be Maisie Moon. She is such a cool kid. At the time it was a very stressful case for a number of reasons. We had just finished for the day, having finished late coming home from the last job when we heard the job come in and it sounded bad. We could see the accident as we flew overhead, the lorry was overturned, the car completely smashed up. When we arrived we could see the dad, Dave, was injured and upset. Maisie had a head injury and broken legs. We anaesthetised her on scene. She was only 15 months old at the time.
Being there meant that we could manage her pain and make a difference.
We then travelled with her in the back of the land ambulance to the Royal London Hospital.
I am still in touch with Dave and Nikki and it has been awesome to meet Maisie again and see her grow up.
What challenges do you face?
On a daily basis the challenge is not knowing when the next job is going to come in. You never know when to eat lunch or go to the toilet as you need to be ready to leave as soon as you hear the bell. We are also challenged with remaining at the top of our game, constantly looking at improving our practices and processes. We look at dealing with new changes and innovations within the Charity.
On scene we face different challenges. Aside from the patients it can be anything from a multiple patient collision, human factors such as distraught families or the physical environment such as height.
What do you think of the new AgustaWestland 169?
The new aircraft is nice, comfortable and rapid. There is more scope for emergency procedures to be performed in the back of the aircraft on route which is great. One of the best things is that it allows for adaptability for our long term goals. It future proofs the service and gives us options to extend our operational hours.
I am pretty happy with where I am at the moment, I don’t think I have time for much else! We continuously look to improving our services so I guess you will just have to watch this space!