SINGAPORE - Paramedic Nurulelfyana Badrulhisham may be only 24, but she has saved dying patients and even helped out in the Little India riot.
On Dec 8 last year, Ms Nurul and her colleagues braved an angry crowd as they tried to extricate the body of construction worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu, who died after being hit by a bus. His body was pinned under it.
"We were pelted with glass bottles and packets of food," she said. "It was disappointing and puzzling because we were trying to help, but we had to focus on the job," said the recipient of an Honourable Mention Award and the youngest winner in this year's Healthcare Humanity Awards.
"It was a privilege to bring some respite to the chaotic situation," said Ms Nurul of Unistrong Technology, a private ambulance operator and a Singapore Civil Defence Force subcontractor.
Ms Nurul joined the profession about a year ago, after an encounter with a boy whose father died in a road accident. "He was taken away by an ambulance and never came back. I want to help patients in the most critical moments, so they can come back and see their loved ones again," she said.
One of her most rewarding moments was when she revived a patient who suffered cardiac arrest. "I was glad and happy, being able to give life back to someone on the brink," she said.
The job has its challenges, she admitted. "You see decomposed bodies... It's disturbing."
But a simple "thank you" keeps her going. "People think of paramedics as transporters. They seldom remember people in the ambulance," she said. "But the other day, an auntie tapped my shoulder and thanked me for helping her after a fall. It is the most rewarding thing in the world."
This article was published on May 15 in The Straits Times. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.