An image of Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paramedic Graeme Cooper standing next to a patient lying on a gurney on a Hervey Bay beach has started to go viral after the meaning behind it became known.
Hervey Bay officer-in-charge Helen Donaldson said a crew was transporting a patient to the palliative care unit of the local hospital when the woman wished out loud that she could 'just be at the beach' instead.
'Above and beyond, the crew took a small diversion to the awesome beach at Hervey Bay to give the patient this opportunity — tears were shed and the patient felt very happy,' she said.
The moment was captured by paramedic Danielle Kellan in a moving image that was posted to the organisation's Facebook page and has started to go viral with thousands of 'likes' and comments.
Mr Cooper told reporters the patient was 'on her last journey back to [palliative care] where she was going basically to pass away.'
He said, 'We popped her up on the hill where she could see the pier and Fraser Island and right through to Point Burrum and she was ecstatic with it all.
'I thought if all these rocks weren’t here I’d get down into my jocks and take you into the ocean...and I would have...however I thought the next best thing was I can get some ocean and bring it to her.
'She actually tasted the salt water.'
Mr Cooper said he sought permission from superiors before taking the patient out of the ambulance.
'In special cases where end of life stuff is going on...the contact we have is our last contact...[we want to] feel good about humans and people and the way they’re treated and managed so they get a good feeling,' he explained.
'It’s always someone else’s father, mother, brother. If I lose my compassion I just won’t be in the job.
'We’re very fortunate we’re in the role we do ... if you’re sensitive to your surroundings ... when a window of opportunity opens up, take it.'
A QAS spokesperson wrote in a Facebook post that 'sometimes it is not the drugs/training/skills — sometimes all you need is empathy to make a difference.'