South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) Paramedic, Stian Mohrsen, and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust Nurse, Nikki McDonald, are more used to looking after patients in the Portsmouth area, but later this month they will be putting their clinical skills to use in the Mediterranean by volunteering for 10-days to work as part of a 24-7 emergency medical team responding to refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos.
Stian and Nikki are taking annual leave from their days jobs and will be volunteering as part of the Medics Bergen team; an NGO (non-governmental organisation) which has already sent out over 100 healthcare professionals to several parts of the world. They fly out to Lesbos on 20 October.
Stian said: “Nikki and I will be part of a team patrolling the shores of the north side of Lesbos, near Skala. It will be our job to respond to areas where boats carrying refugees land, evacuate those people from the boats, triage them and provide medical and humanitarian care to anyone who needs it. As a 24-7 operation, we will be working in shifts so our 10 days there will be hard work, but we are looking for it.”
Nikki added: “Medics Bergen has been sending qualified, volunteer medical personnel from all over the world to the island of Lesbos since November 2015. The media focus has moved on over the last year or so but thousands of refugees are still making the journey on boats and rafts which are often dangerously unseaworthy. Those that do make it to shore are often very tired and have illnesses and injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. There is very little ambulance cover on Lesbos and many adults and children wouldn’t survive without urgent medical help being available on the beach.”
With all the money raised by Medics Bergen being directed towards rescue and medical equipment, Stian and Nikki are funding their own expenses for travel, accommodation and meals during their stay on the island. They have set up a secure, online fundraising site for anyone who would like to make a contribution to their £1,200 costs.
Donations can be made at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/emergency-health-care-for-refugees-in-greece
As well as supporting the humanitarian cause they are both very passionate about, they are hoping to use the experience they gain in remote medicine and mass triage to ultimately benefit the patients they look after in Portsmouth.
Stian and Nikki appeared on BBC Radio Solent this morning.