News -

CareFlight airlifts 1,000th patient

When five year old Isabella Fuller-Chapman was airlifted by RACQ CareFlight Rescue this month, it was to be a series of firsts and milestones.

It was the first time the little Eidsvold girl and her heavily pregnant mother Lyndsey had been airborne and the 1,000th mission flown by RACQ CareFlight in just ten months.

And it was an experience – for both the patient and her mother.

“I think they knew I was a bit nervous,” Lyndsey Fuller said.

“The CareFlight crewman was explaining what would happen before we took off.

“I looked at my Auntie and she started laughing at me.”

The adventure began and would end in an Eidsvold classroom.

Isabella was opening her desk at the local primary school Tuesday week when she slipped off her chair and hit her head and neck on the desk behind her.

The school drove to Lyndsey’s house to tell her there had been an accident and that as a precautionary measure Isabella would need to go to hospital.

“She’s only five years old and it really upset me seeing her in a neck brace,” Lyndsey said.

The RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter was then called to airlift Isabella to Bundaberg so further tests could be done to ensure there was no spinal injury.

Her mother would escort her on the helicopter.

It’s a trip that would take nearly three hours by road.

Isabella admits to being a little frightened, but more worried about her mum.

“My mum was scared,” Isabella said.

“I had to hold her hand.

“It was good because I had never been on a helicopter before.”

“The crew was lovely,” Lyndsey said.

“I think they knew my daughter was nervous.

“They put her mind at ease.”

And while Lyndsey admits to dreading the flight, she says in the end it was actually good.

“My heart was beating that fast, I was so scared.”

“When it took off it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.

“It was so smooth.”

A series of tests at Bundaberg Base Hospital cleared Isabella of any serious or permanent injury and the family returned to Eidsvold.

Isabella then had her own mission in mind.

“She couldn’t’ wait to get to school the next day to show the neck brace off and talk about the ride in the helicopter.”

Isabella’s flight to Bundaberg was the 1,000th mission RACQ CareFlight Rescue has flown in ten months across 31 shires in Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

“We’re grateful Isabella was fine and she had no spinal injury,” CareFlight CEO Ashley van de Velde said.

“But many of the missions are to treat and transfer very seriously ill or injured patients who would die without the intervention of our Intensive Care Doctors and Flight Paramedics.

“Each year we fly more than 1,400 missions and we’re on track to do that again by July.”

And it seems the people of Eidsvold, population 459, are very aware of RACQ CareFlight and the lifesaving work it does.

“They (CareFlight) come here a lot,” Lyndsey said.

“It’s very small and everyone knows when someone is being flown out.”

In the two weeks since Isabella was airlifted the RACQ CareFlight team has treated, transferred and winch rescued another 48 people, many of these with life threatening illnesses, injuries or situations.