LIFE FLIGHT PRAISED
Pilot on mission for sick
IT WASN’T a bird, and it wasn’t just any plane taking off from Dirranbandi on Monday morning, as local resident Reginald Fazldeen took to the skies for his third Angel Flight.
With the help of Sunshine-coast based orthodontist Vas Srinivasan, Mr Fazldeen was escorted to and from Toowoomba hospital, where he was due for a scan.
Different to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Angel Flight transports patients by small planes to and from medical appointments, usually in the same day, saving those in need of medical assistance from driving long, and often infeasible, distances.
Mr Fazldeen is no stranger to the organisation, and expressed his thanks to the service.
“This will be my third time with Angel Flight.
“I’ve been to Brisbane for heart surgery ... I caught that one from St George, that was good, that was on a transport plane.
“The other one was from the airport here in Dirranbandi and that time was also to Brisbane.”
Due for eye surgery, Mr Fazldeen did not want to drive the long distance to hospital.
“I didn’t want to drive there (Toowoomba hospital) with my eyes, they’re a bit blurry,” Mr Fazldeen said.
“My doctor said we’ll get you an Angel Flight up and back home in one day.
“They look after you pretty well, all the way,” he said.
His pilot, Dr Srinivasan, joined Angel Flight earlier this year, after deciding he wanted to do more with his medical profession.
Having had a pilot’s licence for three years, Dr Srinivasan, from the Sunshine Coast, joined Angel Flight in February and has just flown his ninth flight.
“I got involved in Angel Flight because I wanted to use my pilot’s licence for a good cause,” he said.
“I wanted to do something worthwhile.
“When my grandmother passed away, she was too far away from a hospital when she needed that medical assistance, so that was another reason I started doing Angel Flights,” he said.
The return flight from Dirranbandi to Toowoomba took about four hours, a stark difference to the 10-hour round-trip by road.
“It saves the long and daunting road trip these patients would face otherwise,” Dr Srinivasan said.
❝ I got involved in Angel Flight because I wanted to use my pilot’s licence for a good cause.
— Vas Srinivasan
SAVING TIME: Angel Flight is a charity that co-ordinates non-emergency flights to help country people access medical help.
LEFT: Pilot Dr Vas Srinivasan and Reginald Fazldeen on board.