February 2015

News and events from CareFlight.
Issue 69 | Autumn 2015
CareFlight there for our most vulnerable
and precious
here’s nothing quite like the
magic of a newborn baby, or a
warm hug from a toddler.
Children are so precious. And so
But what if the unthinkable happens?
What if, out of the blue, a child has
a life-threatening accident, stops
breathing or becomes so ill that only
swift medical care can save their life?
We are pleased and proud that
CareFlight is there, ready to provide
emergency transport and critical care
to sick or injured babies and children –
saving precious time and precious lives.
We can offer this peace of mind every
hour of the day, every day of the year,
thanks only to your generous support.
CareFlight has a long history in the
emergency transportation and care of
sick and injured babies and children.
In fact, the very first flight we ever
made, back in 1986, was to transport
two injured children to hospital after a
car crash.
This tradition continues today with
our work in three vital areas: specialised
transport for babies and young children,
emergency care at accident scenes and
medical treatment and advice for remote
Our teams are trained in the latest
life-saving techniques. They work with
the very best equipment designed
especially to treat and transport children
of all ages, from premature babies to
injured teenagers. Your kind support
makes this possible.
One example was that of little
Aiden who we transported just over 18
months ago as a critically ill newborn.
Aiden was born prematurely in a
country town and desperately needed
emergency medical care when he
experienced respiratory distress caused
by bronchiolitis. It was touch and go
as his anxious parents watched him
struggle to breathe while they waited
for the helicopter to transport him to a
specialist children’s hospital.
Aiden’s mum, Cat, wrote us this
heartfelt message:
“That flight is not one that I will
forget anytime soon or one that I ever
want to repeat; it has really had a lasting
impact in the most momentous way
“We are thankful for CareFlight
every day. Without a doubt, we would
have lost our baby boy and his siblings
would have lost their baby brother if it
weren’t for your service.”
With your help, we can fly to a
woman having a difficult birth in an
isolated part of Australia, bring hospitallevel care to a toddler who’s suffered a
nasty fall, or resuscitate a young child
nearly drowned in a pool.
Eight-year-old boy with
suspected snake bite
he CareFlight rapid response
trauma team were called to Peats
Ridge on the Central Coast
where an eight-year-old boy suffered a
suspected snake bite.
The boy from nearby Tumbi Umbi
was visiting his aunt when he came back
to the house with puncture wounds on
his left foot after playing in long grass.
His aunt tended to the wound while
emergency services rushed to the scene.
The type of snake was not
immediately identified.
The CareFlight helicopter landed
on the property one minute before a
NSW Ambulance crew arrived from
the Central Coast. The boy was alert,
conscious and in a stable condition
when flown with his aunt to The
Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Melbourne couple airlifted after vehicle rollover in Litchfield
A Melbourne couple were airlifted
to Royal Darwin Hospital after their
rental vehicle left the road and rolled in
Litchfield National Park.
The man and woman, aged in their
30s, were driving on the Litchfield
Park Road when the accident took
place about 300 metres east of the
Buley’s Rockhole turnoff and about 80
kilometres by air south of Darwin.
With a medical team from the
Batchelor clinic and a St John
Ambulance crew also on their way,
the CareFlight TIO rescue helicopter
took off for the scene at about
4.50pm local time, landing about 20
minutes later.
CareFlight’s doctor and nurse
treated the woman for a shoulder
injury and some other minor injuries
and assessed the man for a suspected
head injury.
A group of holidaying nurses from
Melbourne were also on hand to help.
Two rescued after boat sinks in
crocodile infested waters
Two men were rescued by CareFlight
after they dodged crocodiles in a night
swim to shore when their fishing boat
sank 120 kilometres north-east of
The two Darwin locals set out
from Shady Camp, then anchored for
the night off Finke Bay between the
Wild Man and West Alligator Rivers.
The two experienced fishos, aged
in their 30s, told the CareFlight crew
that their six metre boat was “flipped
over” by increasing winds at about
8.00pm, as they were sleeping. The
men managed to grab their distress
beacon before climbing onto the hull
of their boat as the tide carried them
closer to shore in the dark. They then
swam the last two kilometres to shore.
On reaching the shore they
activated an unregistered 406MHz
Emergency Position Indicating
Radio Beacon (EPIRB) which sent
a signal via satellite to the Australian
Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
headquarters in Canberra.
Just before 4.00am AMSA called
out Darwin’s CareFlight TIO rescue
helicopter and a search aircraft to find
the source of the distress beacon.
The task was made more challenging
because the beacon was unregistered
which meant the search crews had no
information about what they were
looking for.
The two men were winched up to
the CareFlight helicopter and treated
by the flight nurse for exposure on the
return flight to Darwin Airport.
The incident is a reminder to
all boating enthusiasts and, indeed,
anyone venturing into remote parts
of Australia, of the importance of
firstly taking an EPIRB and secondly
ensuring it is registered.
CareFlight stops peak
hour traffic
he CareFlight rapid response
trauma team stopped peak hour
traffic on one of Sydney’s busiest
freeways when called to a four-car
accident in Granville in Sydney’s west.
One car suffered extensive damage
when it crashed into a barrier. Its
35-year-old male driver suffered
suspected head injuries.
CareFlight’s doctor and paramedic
treated the unconscious male and
initiated pre-hospital treatment
including administering anaesthetic
and intubation. The injured man was
then transported by road ambulance to
Westmead Hospital, accompanied by
CareFlight’s medical crew.
SES volunteer checked for spinal injury after rafting training
A 30-year-old woman was airlifted to
Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital
to be assessed for possible spinal injuries
after a training mishap with the State
Emergency Service.
The CareFlight rapid response
trauma team were called to Penrith
White Water Rafting Park in the former
Olympic complex in Castlereagh,
landing within 13 minutes of receiving
the initial call.
The woman was with a group of
SES volunteers from Dubbo in western
NSW who were undergoing a training
exercise in fast-flowing floodwater
They were attempting to right a
capsized rubber raft when it flipped
suddenly and struck her heavily on the
The CareFlight medical team
joined NSW Ambulance paramedics
in providing initial treatment and
stabilising the woman before flying
her to Royal North Shore’s specialist
spinal unit where tests revealed she had
escaped serious long-term injury.
NSW Police and NSW Fire and
Rescue from Penrith also responded to
the incident.
Pre-hospital trauma training
Medics and rescue operators working
in a pre-hospital setting are constantly
faced with unexpected challenges which
include extreme weather conditions,
unfamiliar geographical environments
and an ever changing inter-disciplinary
It is for this reason that CareFlight
regularly conducts our internationally
recognised Pre-Hospital Trauma
Course. This two and a half day course
allows participants to develop the
knowledge, skills and attitudes that
facilitate success within operational
Participants include doctors, nurses,
emergency response officers and
firefighters from across Australia.
CareFlight’s education program is
dedicated to improving outcomes for
Tasmania’s first responders benefit
from CareFlight trauma training
areFlight travelled to Tasmania
in late 2014 to deliver MediSim
– a unique national trauma
training program.
MediSim provides world-class
trauma training delivered by doctors,
nurses and paramedics.
The program has been running
nationally for four years.
The Tasmanian MediSim tour
• training to 67 first responders free of
• workshops in Port Sorell, Cradle
Mountain, Hobart and Freycinet
National Park
• training conducted by experts
including Specialist Doctor Greg
Button, Clinical Nurse Consultant
Mel Brown and Intensive Care
Paramedic Kevin Gardiner
• the program to volunteers from the
SES, Tasmania Fire and St John
Ambulance as well as national parks
As a result of CareFlight’s extensive
training program, Tasmania’s emergency
services personnel now have more
knowledge, skills and confidence in
dealing with trauma patients.
The practical component of the
MediSim workshop uses high quality
mannequins and a unique Car Crash
Rescue Simulator, capable of simulating
a realistic motor vehicle accident, to give
participants an opportunity to practise in
a safe and controlled environment.
The Tasmanian workshops were
delivered at no cost to participants
thanks to the assistance of Origin
Energy, Collier Charitable Fund, Spirit
of Tasmania, Peppers Resorts and the
generosity of CareFlight supporters.
Nationally, MediSim has conducted
105 workshops and trained over 1,500
emergency service volunteers since it
was launched by CareFlight in 2011.
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