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Paramedic goes above and beyond with surprise language skills

February 19, 2024 | in News

A paramedic’s surprise language skills have made all the difference for a Melbourne family on what they described as one of their “toughest days”.

Eight-month-old Mitchell Pang was being cared for by his grandmother last year while his parents were out of town, when he suddenly become very unwell, suffering from breathing difficulties.

With his grandmother unable to drive or speak English, Mitchell’s mother, Claire, who was staying in Sydney at the time, organised an ambulance to attend.

When AV6K (AV) Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic Warren Crittle arrived to provide care, the family was left stunned at his ability to speak fluent Mandarin.

Paramedics Warren Crittle (left) and Ian Howie (right) reunited with Mitchell Pang (in yellow) and his family on Sunday.

Claire said Warren’s remarkable bilingual skills made a significant difference in very a frightening situation.

“Mitchell was struggling to breathe and the language barrier with my mum, who was the primary caregiver in our absence, added to our distress,” Claire said.

“Warren went above and beyond, reassuring us over the phone with his ability to speak Chinese.

“He took charge, ensuring Mitchell’s safe transfer to Monash Children’s Hospital, and conversed with my mum and aunty in Chinese throughout the process until Mitchell was transferred to ICU at Monash Children’s Hospital.”

Warren’s language skills also came as a shock to his AV partner Ian Howie.

“I was completely gobsmacked, I had no idea at all, and we’ve worked together for years,” Ian said.

“In my 15 years as a paramedic, it was one of the most memorable jobs.”

Warren who lived and studied in China prior to becoming a paramedic said he was pleased to have been able to make the situation a little easier for the family.

“It’s not something a lot of people know about me, but I’m very glad it was so helpful at the time,” Warren said.

“Mitchell went downhill as we were on the way to hospital, so it was important that I was able to understand his history and where he had been treated before.”

Mitchell (in yellow) was diagnosed with Bronchiolitis but has since made a full recovery.

Mitchell was diagnosed with Bronchiolitis and spent a number of days in intensive care.

He has since made a full recovery and is a healthy and happy one-year-old.

The family was delighted to meet with Warren and Ian recently.

That was the toughest time of the year for our family, and I am so thankful that we had Warren to guide us through it,” Claire said.

“His ability to communicate with my mother proficiently broke down the language barrier and created a calmer environment, settling everyone’s nerves.”