by Imogen Blake
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Lorraine Lawton is a modern day superhero. Not only is she a full-time emergency nurse at Whittington Hospital, she also has an extra part-time job as a squadron leader in the RAF Reserves.
She is devoted to both jobs but it’s her work as part of a medical emergency response team (MERT) saving children, civilians and soldiers in Helmand Province in Afghanistan which got her nominated and shortlisted for Reservist of the Year in The Sun’s Military Awards on Thursday December 6.
“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything particularly courageous. Like they all say, I was just doing my job. I was gutted not to win but [Simon Sunderland] who won thoroughly deserved it. I didn’t think I deserved to win at all,” 46-year-old Ms Lawton said.
She continued: “I thoroughly enjoyed the awards and had experiences I never could have dreamed of: meeting Prince Charles and the Prime Minister at Downing Street.”
The paediatric nurse at the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, who lives in north Oxfordshire, spent four months between October 2011 and January this year in an “A&E in the sky,” a helicopter medical team resuscitating the wounded on the way to Afghan hospitals.
Ms Lawton doesn’t know when she will be sent out next but will sign up for another five years service next year.
She said: “It’s a dangerous job. The hardest thing I’ve done was flying out five children who all had serious injuries after a bomb exploded in their compound. Only one out of the five survived. But I’d go back in a heartbeat.”
Ms Lawton joined the RAF Reserves in 1993 and within a few short years rose through the ranks to become squadron leader. She had always wanted to join the military but waited until the right job in a MERT came along before she signed up.
“There’s good and bad in every job but I love my job as an emergency nurse looking after children and I absolutely adore my military work. I’d find it really difficult to choose one over the other,” Ms Lawton said.
The busy nurse is adding another commitment to her schedule as she hopes to start a PhD on paediatric resuscitation in traumatised children next year. “I’m single, which is why I get away with it!”