Doctor James on his journey from schoolboy to air ambulance medic How long have you been a doctor? I've been a doctor for 9 years and have worked for Thames Valley Air Ambulance for just over a year and a half. Why did you want to become a doctor? I’ve been interested in biology and the natural world from an early age and used to love watching ER with my mum aged 12! When a family friend suggested I should be a doctor, I organised some work experience and this confirmed it was the career for me. So I applied to Medical School and 14 years later I’m nearing my consultancy. What training and qualifications have you completed in order to reach where you are now? I studied for my original Medical degree at Leicester University. Since then I've completed a number of postgraduate qualifications, including MRCEM (Membership of Royal College of Emergency Medicine), which allows me to continue training in emergency medicine, which is the stepping stone to practice pre-hospital emergency medicine. I'm working towards my Fellowship of Royal College of Emergency Medicine at the moment. I also have a Diploma in Immediate Medical Care from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. It's really important to me to be continually learning and expanding my skillset. What do you remember about the incident involving scaffolder Jamie, which was featured in episode 5 of Emergency Helicopter Medics? From when we received the initial call, we were expecting to find Jamie with bones protruding out of the skin in his lower leg. On arrival we were very glad to find this wasn’t the case, but he was clearly very distressed and in a lot of pain. Whilst assessing him, Matt and I gave him morphine for pain relief. Due to the severity of the pain, we were concerned about the possibility of Compartment Syndrome. This is where pressure can build within the limb following an injury, potentially stopping blood flow, and can even end in losing the limb. After further review we were comfortable that Compartment Syndrome was very unlikely in this instance, and were happy for Jamie to go to hospital with the land ambulance crew. This was a particularly special incident on a personal level for me, as the helicopter landed at my old secondary school, Chesham High School (now Chesham Grammar School). After we informed control that we were available for the next patient, I enjoyed the chance to catch up with some old teachers and I had the privilege to show them around the helicopter. I have many happy memories of school and it’s also where I met my incredible wife! Chesham High really supported me to pursue a career in medicine, so I’m pleased to have been able to help as part of Thames Valley Air Ambulance 14 years later. Credit: Emergency Helicopter Medics, More4 What makes you proud to work for Thames Valley Air Ambulance? Throughout my time working at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, I’ve had the chance to meet some of the patients I’ve treated, once they're on the journey to recovery. It’s a real privilege to hear about their recovery and seeing the difference we’ve made as a team makes me incredibly proud to work at Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Knowing that our skills and innovative equipment helps to give our patients the best possible chance fills me with pride. Also, knowing that this critical service wouldn’t be available without the generosity of the public makes me feel proud to live and work within the community. Why is the work of Thames Valley Air Ambulance so important? At Thames Valley Air Ambulance everyday is different. We provide extremely valuable critical care to patients suffering from a huge range of complex illnesses and injuries. We arrive at our patient’s side at the scene of the incident, which can often be in challenging environments. Whatever the scenario our job is to reduce suffering and give our patients the best chance of survival and recovery. Credit: Emergency Helicopter Medics, More4 What was it like being featured in Emergency Helicopter Medics? Being a charity, we rely entirely on public funding as we do not receive any money from the government or national lottery. It’s a privilege to show our community what their generous donations fund. The series really illustrates that without our supporters we truly could not provide the lifesaving care that we currently do. We've got loads more exciting behind the scenes content on our Emergency Helicopter Medics site. Keep checking in as the series progresses, as we'll be releasing new content every week. And don't forget to sign up to our newsletter to keep updated with news about our crew, equipment, vehicles, and more!