Neonatal patients reunited with RACQ LifeFlight Rescue jet crews

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and Queensland Health neonatal retrieval specialist staff have shared an emotional reunion with some of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s smallest, most precious patients, to mark Neonatal November.

“The nicest part of this job is to have return patients, it’s pretty special,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Air Ambulance jet pilot, Anthony McKenna, said.

Townsville University Hospital Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Megan Murphy, said meeting the families of two patients she had treated, was the best feeling in the world.

“It’s very emotional, it feels like my heart is bursting.”

Tautu Tuainekore was only a few days old, when he urgently needed to be flown from Townsville, to Brisbane.

“He flew to Brisbane, on this beautiful jet, because he needed to have patent ductus arteriosus (cardiac) surgery,” Tautu’s mum, Lisa Marii, said.

Tautu, who is a twin, was accompanied by his dad, Brad, on the LifeFlight jet journey.

A few short weeks later, Tautu was airlifted back to Townsville, in an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Air Ambulance jet, this time accompanied by his twin brother Boyd and mum Lisa Marii.

He underwent two further surgeries in Townsville and is now, thankfully, happy and healthy.

“There were tears of joy today, seeing the nurses and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew today,” Lisa said.

“It was a tough time and LifeFlight came through and made it all happen for me and my family and I’d just like to thank you all.”

Another family, whose baby is an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Air Ambulance jet success story, is little Hannah Tolcher.

Hannah was only hours old, when Townsville doctors realised she needed urgent heart surgery, which was only available in the state’s capital.

She was flown to Brisbane, in an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue jet, in July this year.

Hannah’s dad, Darren, was onboard the LifeFlight Challenger 604 jet with his baby girl and credits the aeromedical team with helping save her life.

“It was very full on and stressful,” Darren Tolcher said.

“But it was good to have the support around and they’re all very professional.”

Tautu and Hannah are two, of more than forty neonatal airlifts, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Air Ambulance jet crews have completed this year.

“I’ve flown with LifeFlight for nearly 14 years and it’s such a pleasure to work together, to help these families, in their time of need,” Megan Murphy said.

RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross said the Club was proud to be able to support Queenslanders and their families through the sponsorship of the RACQ LifeFlight Air Ambulance jets.

“There could be nothing more stressful for a parent than having a sick child, and in regional areas they may not have access to the higher level of care they require.

“The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service is critical in ensuring those living in rural areas receive the medical treatment they need and we’re so proud of the work the RACQ LifeFlight team do saving lives each and every day.”

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue pilot, Anthony McKenna, was in the cockpit for many vital missions, including Tautu’s and Hannah’s.

“To be able to get a critical patient, to where they need to be is really important and the speed we can complete missions in a jet, is lifesaving,” he said.