Mother of seven receives lifesaving airlift mid-surgery

“Because of you, my kids still have their Mum. Thank you for giving generously to LifeFlight and helping save my wife’s life,” Bruce Devereaux.

It has been almost one year since I thought I’d lost her – my loving wife of 16 years and adoring mother to our seven children.

What started as a sharp pain in the stomach one ordinary Tuesday afternoon saw my wife Tracey quickly deteriorate until she was literally fighting for her life. Before I knew it, the love-of-my-life was being whisked away to an operating theatre for immediate keyhole surgery.

“It’s touch and go,” doctors told me. “She came in very unstable. You can’t lose and replace that much blood without consequences.”

Tracey was bleeding internally into her stomach cavity from an aneurysm on her small intestine.

It was during emergency surgery to stop the bleed when things went horribly wrong and LifeFlight (formally known as CareFlight) was called in to airlift Tracey mid-operation.

Knowing the operation hadn’t gone well, I was relieved to hear Tracey was being airlifted to Brisbane. Although she was barely alive, the doctors weren’t giving up. I knew how much time they’d save taking her by chopper. It gave me hope she had a chance.

During Tracey’s initial operation a life-threatening blood clot formed in a main artery, cutting off blood from the bulk of her bowels. They had just eight hours to fix the damage, but no specialist vascular surgeon to mend it.

Tracey was then rushed in a lifesaving mission to a Brisbane hospital in LifeFlight’s BK117 helicopter and taken straight into surgery. Vascular experts made an incision into her artery to remove the blood clot and then repaired the damage using a vein from her leg.

Life-threatening incidents can happen to anyone and strike without a moment’s notice. I never, ever dreamt Tracey would need to be airlifted by LifeFlight, but the donations of generous community members made it possible.

This roller coaster of panic was difficult to say the least. I felt like I’d been to hell and back. But through it all I told myself I wasn’t going to cry until Tracey was okay. I was determined they’d be tears of joy.

By some miracle, and a whole lot of science and medical intervention, Tracey survived the night. Then after nearly three months recovering in hospital, Tracey finally came home.

Before this happened I’d never donated to LifeFlight. I just took it for granted. In fact, I didn’t realise the service needed community support. 

Now, our family donates because we know there are other families out there who one day will need LifeFlight to step in so they have the best chance of keeping their loved ones around too.

On behalf of my wife and our children, I thank you. You not only helped save Tracey’s life, but you kept a family together.

My kids have a Mum and I have a wife. Our nephews and nieces have an aunty, my in-laws have a daughter and sister, and fortunately for Tracey’s friends they still have a designated driver when they go out for a girl’s night! Your support to LifeFlight means the world to us.

Thank you for your support and for helping save Tracey’s life.

- Bruce Devereaux
Husband of LifeFlight patient Tracey Devereaux

Please donate today so that other families can receive the same life-changing air-medical help that the Devereaux family was lucky enough to have.