Snake bite airlift becomes CareFlight’s 1,000th mission
RACQ CareFlight Rescue has airlifted a patient after he was bitten by what is believed to be a deadly Tiger Snake.
The man in his 60s was struck on the left foot once while moving boxes in a shed at a property in Queensland’s South West.
“The patient was initially treated on scene by QAS and transported by road to Warwick Hospital,” CareFlight Aircrewman Leigh Aynsley said.
“CareFlight then airlifted the gentleman to Toowoomba Hospital for further treatment.
“He travelled in a stable condition.”
The hospital transfer marks the 1,000th mission for RACQ CareFlight Rescue in just eight months.
Mr Aynsley said a hospital transfer may be a daily task for the crew, but they save lives.
“Inter-hospital transfers are essential for helping critically injured or ill patients get the urgent specialist care they need,” he said.
CareFlight’s fleet of six community rescue helicopters – based at Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba – has been busy performing 1,000 lifesaving rescue missions during the 2014/2015 financial year.
The lifesaving airlifts include a range of emergency missions across 31 shires in Queensland and Northern New South Wales since July 1, 2014.
“CareFlight crews have flown around the clock to serious motor vehicle crashes, performed urgent search and rescue missions, transferred seriously ill or injured patients between hospital facilities, and airlifted precious tiny babies on neonatal transfers,” Mr Aynsley said.
Former Federal MP Ian Cameron found himself a RACQ CareFlight Rescue patient after he became trapped in an underground grain silo at his South West farm in August.
“In a split second, I found myself buried chest deep in sorghum – it was like quick sand pulling me down! My right foot was sucked into the auger, crushing my toes,” Mr Cameron said.
CareFlight’s Toowoomba helicopter, SES, Queensland Fire and QAS were all called in for the marathon eight-hour rescue effort to free the 76-year-old.
“You don’t think you’ll ever need the CareFlight service, but I’m glad they were there to help me,” Mr Cameron said.
In October, eight-year-old Oscar Root was airlifted by the Toowoomba crew after he was bitten by a deadly brown snake just outside the front door of his home.
Oscar’s mother Myola Root said, “He kept saying ‘Mum, get me help. I need help!’”
“It’s difficult to keep calm when your child is saying those words to you in a very distressed state. My heart just stopped,” Mrs Root said.
“CareFlight is a very important service to our family. The crew that was with Oscar and I that day was amazing. I know they will only say that they were doing their job, but their actions will never be forgotten by our family.”
In the last week of the Christmas school holidays, Mary River Valley mum Kate Higgs witnessed her 13-year-old son jump into a popular swimming hole and land awkwardly in the water.
Rushing to her son’s aid, Kate recalled the panic she felt, and the relief that quickly followed, when she learnt that CareFlight was on its way.
"It seems that barely a few minutes had passed after the accident before the road ambulance arrived and then almost simultaneously I could hear the comforting sounds of the helicopter thudding overhead,” Mrs Higgs said.
“The entire operation from his assessment at the site, moving him from the water to the ambulance and then his transfer to the helicopter was so effortless and calming in a stressful situation.”