Newspaper report on TA medics

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by crossed_axes, Sep 21, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Good article in today's Mirror -

    Grandma nightingale
    Exclusive by Julie McCaffrey in Afghanistan 21/09/2007
    Pat Messenger should be winding down, putting her feet up and looking back on her 34 years as a nurse with pride and satisfaction.
    Instead, this gutsy grandma has sacrificed her cosy family life at home to work in Camp Bastion's field hospital, bringing her many years of experience to the battlefield.
    She missed her 25th wedding anniversary while here at the British Army's Helmand base, where she shares a tent with nine others in the stifling 110-degree desert heat. She aches to see her two grandsons, but knows the injured young soldiers need her more.
    So for seven days a week, she works gruelling shifts amid the relentless horror of battlefield injuries in the hospital's intensive care unit. But she wouldn't have missed the opportunity for the world...
    Pat, 52, from Whitehaven in Cumbria, says: "As a grandparent, a lot of people start winding down. But I'm not ready for that. I'm in the Territorial Army so when I was called up to work out here, I jumped at it. At my age there's not much chance of being offered any more tours.
    "I wanted to see how a field hospital works, to test my skills, use different equipment and learn new techniques that I can put into practice with patients at home.
    "But most of all I wanted to help the brave soldiers putting themselves at dire risk. When you see what they do out there, such young lads, it feels like a privilege to look after them.
    "My husband was apprehensive but knew he couldn't change my mind.
    "It's been hard work and terribly tough at times, both physically and emotionally. But I've learned to cope with the heat and have never felt so rewarded at work. It's like a different world out here and it's doing me the world of good by keeping me young and fit. The weeks are whizzing by."
    Pat and the team of medics, all NHS workers who are members of the Territorial Army's 208 Liverpool Field Hospital Volunteers, do astounding work.
    Within this warren of green tents, 12 of the UK's top consultants use cutting edge equipment which rivals that of our leading specialist hospitals to work tirelessly giving our soldiers the first class medical care they deserve.
    As well as tending to the soldiers' physical wounds, Pat and her colleagues also provide an informal and gentle counselling role as the first people our injured men and women see.
    They are the ones who have the heartrending task of breaking news of lost limbs and lost colleagues.
    Back home, Pat's construction worker husband Paul and their children Tracey, 32, Stuart, 21, and Andrea, 19, worry about her. But she does her best to reassure them she's in no immediate danger and is coping with her heavy workload.
    "They're apprehensive, of course. But I keep telling them that I'm absolutely fine and having the experience of my life," she says.
    "At first I worried about the state of the house and if everyone was eating properly. And I felt awful not being able to phone Paul on our silver wedding anniversary on August 14.
    "But I know we'll celebrate when I get back and I know everyone at home can look after themselves.
    "Of course I miss my home comforts and would love a bigger bed, a bubble bath and some Lenor so my undies didn't feel like cardboard.
    "But when you've been out here, seeing what we do in the hospital, such things seem completely insignificant." Decades in the nursing profession has taught Pat, a staff nurse in coronary care at West Cumberland Hospital, to cope with the loss of patients.
    "It's tragic when someone dies, it always is," she says. "But you learn how to pick yourself up and crack on. Otherwise you'd crumble and couldn't do the job.
    "But for every sad case, there's a happy one. The soldiers are so appreciative of their care here, always thanking us sincerely even when we've had to break devastating news of lost limbs or comrades. That will stay with me for ever."
    Family photographs are pinned all around Pat's cramped sleeping area within the tent set aside for medics. Calling home and hearing the voices of her two grandsons, five-year-old Daniel and Dylan, two, never fails to bring a lump to her throat.
    "I miss them so much I wish I could jump down the phone line, scoop them up and give them a big cuddle," she smiles.
    "It's quite hard to chat by phone because there's an echo on the line and a few seconds' delay. But when I hear little Daniel and Dylan say they miss me, I have to fight back tears.
    "Daniel always asks me to tell him about all the soldiers and is desperate to hear about all the army trucks, tanks and aeroplanes. I've gone around the camp taking photos of them for him and he's sent me back the cutest letters and drawings. Little, personal things like that make such a difference."
    In eight weeks, Pat will be home again, armed with many soldier bedtime stories for her grandsons.
    But she will wait until they're older to tell them about the scorpions that can paralyse, or camel spiders the size of dinner plates that are said to be able to devour a human leg in two days.
    For now, Pat just hopes her time in Camp Bastion will make her grandsons proud.
    And maybe one day they'll tell their own kids about their gran's work in Afghanistan...
    Pictures by EMMA CATTELL
  2. Good lass - I tip me hat to her.
  3. cheers for the link, well done pat
  4. Well done Pat, your efforts are aprreciated.
  5. well done Pat, i salute you
  7. Power to you.Stay safe!
  8. Anyone still gobbing off at the TA?

    Well done Pat and all from 208 Liverpool Field Hospital Volunteers.
  9. well done pat...I've heard many good things about 208 in Helmand. They've been particularly busy

    have a safe trip home Ed!

  10. Good on ya girl!! well done come home safe and thanks.

  11. Well done that woman! And off course to her collegues.

    Take care and come home safe.
  12. brilliant work pat

    thats true devotion above and beyond
  13. There was another Mirror article on some of our nurses a few weeks ago as well. The Mirror seem to have done a very good job!
  14. Well done Pat and the rest that are unmentioned.