Meet Caroline: Critical Care Paramedic at NWAA for over 10 years

Published: 18th March 2024

Our critical care paramedics (CCP) at the North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAA) solely man two of our helicopters, H75 and H08. Their roles include additional skills to that of a paramedic. They are able to provide advanced interventions, as well as administer a broad spectrum of drugs, and perform surgical interventions, all of which encompass enhanced pre-hospital care.

Caroline started working for NWAA in 2011 as a HEMS Paramedic, this was when the charity only had two helicopters. She is now a CCP as well as a Senior Paramedic Team Leader and has been part of the charity’s development, including the introduction of consultant-level doctors to the crew, the launch of our critical care vehicles and our blood-on-board partnership.

In her spare time, Caroline has attended many charity events to help raise awareness and vital funds, as well as taking on several challenges. She’s trekked across the Sahara Desert, cycled from Vietnam to Cambodia and completed a sub-four-hour marathon, raising over £3,000 for NWAA.

Caroline has undertaken some super-human achievements, including competing at the Iron Man World Championships. We spoke to her about these challenges, she said: “I’ve done 11 Ironman races in the past, but when I first set out doing Ironman, there was something everyone talked about called Kona, which was the Ironman World Championships.

“I’d never heard of it before, but after taking on a couple of Ironman’s I thought this was the goal, I wanted to get to the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

“I finally qualified, and then nine weeks before the World Championships, I had quite a serious bike crash. I was found at the side of the road unconscious by a passing motorist, I ended up with six broken ribs and smashed my collarbone into three pieces.

“I needed surgery, and they fitted a metal plate to fix my collarbone, at that point I said to the surgeon “I’ve got quite an important race coming up, what are the chances of doing it?” and he said “Unlikely”. So, I just asked when I could bike, swim and run, and less than 48 hours after the surgery I was sat on a turbo trainer in my garage, thinking what the heck am I doing?

“I persevered and I did make it across the finish line in Hawaii.”

This year Caroline is taking on another huge challenge in aid of NWAA; she’s aiming to set the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to run the London Marathon in a full-flight suit. This includes the helmet, fireproof flight suit and boots, which altogether weighs a total of 4kg.

We spoke to Caroline about the upcoming challenge and how her training is going, she said: “This time is going to be a little bit different, I’m following a bit of a training plan. However, this time I’m training to be able to run in the full flight suit including helmet and boots, so I’ve been testing running in pairs of boots and I’m now on my third pair of work boots.

“I’ve also done a few runs with my full-flight suit on, and it’s so hot it’s unbelievable, so I’m going to do a bit of heat preparation. I’ve been going to the sauna, having a hot baths, and training with lots of layers of clothes on to try and get me used to the heat. It should change how my body responds to the mechanism of heat.”

In order to set the Guinness World Record, Caroline will have to complete the marathon in under five hours, her personal best marathon time is 3 hours 30 minutes, however, this time she’ll have to run with an extra 4kg.

She said: “If I do it, it would be amazing, as it will hopefully raise lots of money and will be amazing to hold a world record if I complete it. People looking from the outside in might not think it’s that hard because I’ve run a marathon before, but it’s a whole new challenge when wearing a full-flight suit, helmet and boots.

“I think that in itself will be a massive challenge, anyone that I work with at the charity thinks I’m completely crazy, because they know just being in that suit working, especially on a hot day, is really hard. The suit adds a whole new element to it, so it will definitely be a challenge.”

To support and follow Caroline on her Guinness World Record Marathon journey follow this link to her JustGiving page. 


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