Life sav­ing just comes nat­u­rally

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY

JOHN Rath­bone has been a para­medic at Townsville’s North­ern Beaches am­bu­lance sta­tion for more than seven years, but his pas­sion for sav­ing lives has gone in­ter­na­tional.

English- born Mr Rath­bone has an avid in­ter­est in science, which has led him to travel to Pa­pua New Guinea mul­ti­ple times a year to vol­un­teer in the Charles Camp­bell Tox­i­nol­ogy Cen­tre in Port Moresby to help save the lives of na­tive taipan and other snake bite vic­tims.

On his most re­cent trip, ear­lier this year, he helped save the lives of 23 crit­i­cally- ill pa­tients in one week.

Mr Rath­bone has been nom­i­nated for a Pride of Aus­tralia Out­stand­ing Brav­ery Medal, which recog­nises those who have helped save, or at­tempted to save, a life.

“The big dif­fer­ence for med­i­cal care in PNG com­pared to Townsville is that they are a de­vel­op­ing trop­i­cal coun­try and the in­fra­struc­ture is so poor out­side of Port Moresby,” Mr Rath­bone said.

“Peo­ple can be bit­ten by a snake and it can take them a whole day to get to hos­pi­tal.

“Over 80 per cent of vic­tims are bit­ten by a PNG taipan, which is re­lated to the same species in Aus­tralia.”

The Pride of Aus­tralia cam­paign has awarded more than 550 medals and shared more than 19,000 sto­ries of hope, in­spi­ra­tion, courage and tri­umph over ad­ver­sity.

Nom­i­na­tions close on Sun­day. To make a nom­i­na­tion, visit townsvillebulletin. com. au/ pride­o­faus­tralia

Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

GUARDIAN AN­GEL: Para­medic John Rath­bone has helped save many lives in PNG.

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