CRITICAL, the emergency medical response charity, has established a new team in Kerry. It now has a consultant in emergency medicine along with 10 paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) based in the county who will respond to serious incidents and potentially life-threatening medical emergencies in their local areas. 

Dr Herlo Coetzer is the newest addition to the team. He is an emergency medicine consultant at University Hospital Kerry in Tralee and has a strong interest in pre-hospital care. He is originally from South Africa and began his career as an independent Emergency Medicine Physician before moving to Ireland in 2015. 

The charity has provided Dr Coetzer with an emergency vehicle and the equipment necessary to care for the sickest and most seriously injured patients. He works closely with the National Ambulance Service and is tasked to road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, falls from heights and other major trauma calls within 30km of where he lives.

Dr Coetzer said, “I’ve always had a passion for emergency medicine and volunteered with the Civil Defence ambulance and fire crews when I was still at school. The treatment a person receives in the immediate aftermath of a cardiac arrest or serious trauma is as important as the treatment they receive in hospital. The equipment provided to me by CRITICAL means I can assist the paramedics at the scene and begin more invasive procedures immediately, giving that person the very best chance of survival and recovery.”

Dr Coetzer joins 10 members of the National Ambulance Service who volunteer to respond to 999 calls in their local area when they are off-duty. The paramedics and EMTs are based across the county in Caherciveen, Killarney, Tralee, Lixnaw, Castleisland and Kenmare. Each responder has been provided with an Emergency Backpack by CRITICAL containing a defibrillator, a resuscitation kit and a medical diagnostic kit at a cost of €1,500. 


David Tighe, CEO of CRITICAL said, “Kerry is a priority area for us as we expand our network of volunteer doctors and emergency medical responders to communities across the country. We’re delighted to have Dr Herlo Coetzer join our team and respond to serious emergencies in the Tralee and surrounding areas. He has 15 years’ of experience in emergency medicine and is a huge asset to our team in Kerry.

Edward Walsh, CRITICAL Head of Operations and Standards added, “The equipment we have provided to Dr Coetzer and the Off-duty Responders is funded by donations and fundraisers carried out by members of the public and corporate supporters here in Kerry and across the country. It costs €25,000 to establish an Advanced Level Doctor and €120,000 to put a new Critical Care response vehicle on the road.”

Pictured here is Emergency Medicine consultant at University Hospital Kerry, Dr Herlo Coetzer, who has joined CRITICAL charity and is volunteering to respond to serious incidents and potentially life-threatening medical emergencies in the Tralee and surrounding areas.