Patient Story -

Bunk bed fall leaves Billy with punctured lung

Ten-year-old Billy Howell was at home at Murwillumbah playing with some toys on the top bunk of his bed when two small Lego pieces proved a little difficult to prise apart. 

Billy did what many children do, and without thinking used his teeth to pull on the Lego.

With the pieces still in his mouth, Billy started climbing down from the bunk.

Then things went wrong.

Billy fell from the top bunk onto the floor, and when he hit the ground, he inhaled the small pieces down into his lung.

Billy’s brother alerted Billy’s mum Deb to the fall. Deb quickly performed the Heimlich Maneuver on Billy and one piece of Lego shot out of his mouth. When Billy was still having difficulty breathing, she realised he had another piece lodged in his lungs, so she rushed him to the local hospital at Murwillumbah.

By the time Billy got to hospital, the piece of Lego had settled in Billy’s left lung, so while he was out of immediate danger, it was apparent to doctors that he would need specialised care from a paediatric hospital. RACQ CareFlight was called in to transport Billy quickly and safely from Murwillumbah Hospital to the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane more than 100 kilometres away.

At the Mater Children’s Hospital, Billy quickly received the surgery he needed. Within a few weeks, Billy was safe and well back at school.

Billy and his mum even called into the hangar with his school friends to meet the CareFlight crew that airlifted him to hospital and to show them the piece of Lego that nearly took his life.

“RACQ CareFlight saved Billy’s life that day, I don’t know what we would have done if their service hadn’t been there for us,” Billy’s mother Deb Howell said during the visit.