Only one phrase fits when it comes to Stuart Aisbett: he is ‘a true gentleman’.
After 43 years serving his community, Stuart is retiring from his MICA 7 team. It’s been “just a wonderful career, it’s been marvellous, really”, he says.
In 1976, Stuart joined what was then known as the Ambulance Service, becoming became a mobile intensive care paramedic (MICA) 12 years later. He recalls his time training with Professor Frank Archer (a pioneer in MICA paramedicine) as a formative experience that has since guided how he works; “everything from the KISS approach of keeping it simple, to his reminder that clinical trainees are hard enough on themselves and they just need a supportive mentor”.
In his forty years as a paramedic and MICA, Stuart names making seatbelts compulsory as a true turning point for Victoria’s safety. “Ask anyone before the 1970s and they’ll be able to tell you of a friend they lost”, he says. “We saw an exceptional amount of trauma”.
During his time as paramedic, Stuart has had some memorable cases. He recalls one patient vividly. In the 1980s, he attended the scene of a stabbing and needed to take urgent action to save a life.
‘I stuck my thumb into his carotid artery and it stopped him dying. The perpetrator was later found to be a mass murderer and the patient went on to make me a fruit cake!’
Despite this extraordinary interaction, Stuart typically found patients were remarkable in their kindness. “Everybody is so grateful for even the small things you do”, he says, “all you’ve got to do with the public is treat them with kindness and its reciprocated, it’s been a great job like that”.
And when asked about his approach with patients, it’s “really to just give people the benefit of the doubt. We don’t know anyone else’s story,” he says. “Society has employed us to treat them with respect and dignity and give them the best chance.”
It’s not hard to see then why Stuart Aisbett is thought of as a gentleman. “He’s one of the true gentleman of ambulance”, says Area Manager Andrew Burns, “an incredible person and such a positive influence on so many of us during his career”.