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RFDS still on the job

Friday, 25th December, 2015

RFDS Medical officer Dr Victoria Bradley getting ready for another busy festive season. RFDS Medical officer Dr Victoria Bradley getting ready for another busy festive season.

The Flying Doctor will be working throughout the holiday period to ensure people get the medical help they need.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section (RFDS SE) bases operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will remain open throughout the festive period, ensuring they continue to deliver the finest aeromedical healthcare to the furthest corners of Australia.

Not only does the RFDS SE provide emergency retrieval and inter-hospital transfers via state-of-the-art medically equipped aircraft, they also provide an inter-hospital patient transfer service and extensive health clinics that include dental and mental health care, breast care, women & children, family health, midwifery, indigenous and preventative health programs.

“Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill, but, unfortunately, accidents still happen, people fall ill and do need medical help,” said Linda Cutler, General Manager Health Services at RFDS South Eastern Section. 

“RFDS flight crews work shifts all year round and really do treat it as just another working day.

“Last year, the RFDS SE flight crews were tasked to eight emergencies between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day for a range of serious conditions, including: broken and fractured bones, respiratory distress, lacerations, concussion, and severe nausea.”   

Whatever this year throws up it is unlikely to top the New Yearís Eve that medical Officer, Dr Victoria Bradley, spent at the Tibooburra Gymkhana and Rodeo.

“I was one of the emergency medical team called to attend a rodeo rider thrown by a bull. His hand had become trapped in the rein resulting in a badly dislocated shoulder,” she said.

“It was a difficult procedure, but the flight nurse and I managed to relocate his shoulder on the stroke of midnight, at which point a huge fireworks display lit up the sky - a novel way to see in the New Year.

“Once the fireworks were over we flew the rider back to Broken Hill with full spinal precautions for X-Rays and further examination.”

Holiday travel in more remote areas requires more planning as pharmacies, medical centres, shops and other amenities may be few and far between.

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