My Army Reservist training helped me save a life

Witnessing the physical and mental effects that trauma can have on serving personnel and their loved ones acted as a military calling for Private Lisa Whitcombe from Plymouth, making her want to do something worthwhile and give something back to the military.

Explains Lisa: “I lived in Sussex before moving to Devon and knew people in The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. One of my friends was fatally injured and another had life changing injuries. Seeing what they and their families went through made me want to do something within the forces.”

And adds Lisa:

“When I moved to Plymouth, I went to an Armed Forces Day event and saw the 243 Field Hospital stand. I had a chat, found out all about the work they do and it all took off from there.”

243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital is part of the Army Reserve Medical Services (ARMS) The mission of ARMS is to be ready to provide vital medical support to the UKs Armed Forces deployed anywhere in the world.

By day Lisa is a Healthcare professional which involves looking after people of all ages and from all walks of life suffering all types of injuries and illnesses.

She passed out five years ago With 243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital and hasn’t looked back since.

Lisa continues: “It just felt right, it was what I wanted to do, to help people. Plus, you get the opportunity to do all the ‘green’ training which is something that really appealed to me as well.

It was the inspiration of others that made Lisa want to become a reservist:

“They say things happen for a reason well this was one of them. This role gives me a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. To this day I’m so proud of my uniform and when I look at it, I think, I achieved that, it is all down to me.”

Lisa’s Army training has proved invaluable to her and never more so than when asked for help in a time of real need.

Lisa takes up the story: “My neighbour knocked on my front door saying her baby was unresponsive and was turning blue. Could I help? My training immediately kicked in and I started CPR on the infant to which he slowly responded. Somehow, I managed to get him and his distressed mother into my car and head for the hospital. All the training I had received from work and the Army just kicked in; it all became second nature.

During the journey the little boy relapsed again so I carried out more CPR on him. Once we arrived at hospital paramedics took over and administered emergency care. It was my military training that got me through this, it taught me many things including keeping control in adverse situations and it really paid off.”

The little boy was air-lifted to hospital and underwent emergency treatment. The good news is that he has now made a full recovery and is back home with his family.

Lisa is in no doubt that her quick thinking coupled with the training she had received in the Army made the outcome of this story a positive one.

People have called Private Whitcombe a hero for her actions which saved this little boy’s life but she remains humble in her response to that label:

“The only people I would say that needed thanking for this positive outcome are those that trained me on the medical side in my civilian role and those in the military who gave me the confidence to tackle this extreme situation.”