Doctor jets in to rescue
Tom Price resident Robyn Street has worked as a volunteer firefighter and ambulance officer over the years, often assisting patients on to Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft — but never thought she would one day be at the other end of the stretcher.
Robyn and her husband Grant were in Karratha for a long weekend away, when she suddenly suffered severe chest pains in the middle of the night.
Robyn said it was at this moment she knew she was in serious trouble.
“I went straight to Nickol Bay Hospital in Karratha where medical tests revealed that the chemical level in my blood was increasing, indicating a heart attack and my situation could deteriorate,” she said.
“It was at this stage medical staff called the flying doctor.”
The RFDS Rio Tinto Life Flight jet was tasked to retrieve Robyn from Karratha and the medical crew, including a fully trained doctor and nurse, began treating her as soon as she was on board the aircraft.
Robyn described her experience as being in a “flying intensive care unit”.
“I was looked after by a highly skilled doctor and nurse, who were both qualified emergency services specialists,” she said.
“Then before I knew it, I was in Perth in about an hour and a half and after already receiving vital treatment, was transferred to hospital.”
The Rio Tinto Life Flight Jet helps the RFDS provide extensive 24-hour essential health care services to anyone who lives, works and travels throughout WA.
RFDS chief executive Grahame Marshall said the Rio Tinto Life Flight jet had made a tremendous difference to the flying doctor’s ability to respond to the needs of rural, regional and remote WA.
“Since the Rio Tinto Life Flight jet’s first mission in October 2009, the aircraft has evacuated almost 1500 patients, the majority (over 70 per cent) from the more distant Kimberley and Pilbara regions,” he said.
“Many lives have been saved as a direct result of the Rio Tinto Life Flight.”
He said there was also a huge amount of planning and expertise involved in ensuring that patients like Robyn receive the treatment they need.
“About one in five patients transported by RFDS in WA have underlying heart disease, and if not treated quickly by specialists, their situation can rapidly worsen,” he said.
“In Robyn’s case, the staff in our 24-hour Statewide co-ordination centre were working closely with the medical and flight crew planning to retrieve her from Karratha, ensuring they had all of the necessary medical equipment and supplies on board to ensure her critical care every step of the way.”
Robyn has now made a full recovery.
This year marks the 80-year anniversary of the RFDS delivering life-saving outcomes to people in WA.
To donate to the RFDS, call 9417 6400 or email email@example.com
Robyn Street has made a full recovery since the RFDS Rio Tinto Life Flight jet retrieved her.