Graphic: Picture of Fiona and her family

Picture of Fiona and her family

Remote Rescue Stories

If you're a mother of two young children, with a third on the way, it's important to know that medical care is available in an emergency.

Fiona's first experience with the Flying Doctor occurred when she was paying a 'home visit' to a station in south-western Queensland as a part of her work.

"I was a primary school teacher and I'd moved from Ballina, on the coast, to take a position in Tibooburra for six months," explains Fiona. "I met my husband here and that was 10 years ago now!"

"I got sick and had to be driven to Thargominda and was airlifted from there to Toowoomba," explains Fiona. "It was a two-hour drive just to get to Thargomindah. I felt bad for the parents that had to drive me but it was good to know that if it was something serious there would be a plane there to take me to hospital."

Tibooburra

Unfortunately, shortly after Fiona returned home to Tibooburra, she had a bad reaction to the medication she was given and had to be airlifted to Broken Hill.

Her husband Derek needed to be airlifted from the property they were managing near Tibooburra when he was mustering cattle on a motorbike and had an accident.

"I was at the house and he was at the top end of the station and a neighbour had to go and get Derek," says Fiona. "It took three hours for them just to get back to the house and we made him go on to Tibooburra to be airlifted out as he'd been knocked unconscious and had to be checked out."

Three years ago their son Samuel, now five and a half, took his first trip with the Flying Doctor.

"He'd been vomiting for 24 hours and wasn't keeping water or electrolyte icypoles down," recalls his mum. "I took him to the clinic at Tibooburra and they flew him to Broken Hill. I flew with him and also had to take my younger son as I was still feeding him. It was pretty stressful."

While Samuel recovered from that incident, he suffered a second round of severe dehydration and required another flight out with his mum for hospital treatment.

Fiona is very appreciative of the primary health clinics the RFDS hold weekly at the Tibooburra Medical Centre.

"I'm currently pregnant with our third child and I use it for all the appointments with the midwife Jacqueline (Noble) so I don't have to go into Broken Hill, except for scans and things," she says.

"We've used the dentist for the boys for their first check-ups and we use it if we get sick."

Having a family in the Outback also puts some less-known stresses on families, as expectant mothers must leave their families a few weeks before giving birth to ensure they are close to medical care.

Fiona and her family

Fiona is very appreciative of the primary health clinics the RFDS hold weekly at the Tibooburra Medical Centre.

"I'm currently pregnant with our third child and I use it for all the appointments with the midwife Jacqueline (Noble) so I don't have to go into Broken Hill, except for scans and things," she says.
"We've used the dentist for the boys for their first check-ups and we use it if we get sick."
Having a family in the Outback also puts some less-known stresses on families, as expectant mothers must leave their families a few weeks before giving birth to ensure they are close to medical care.

"You have to plan more if you're on a station," says Fiona. "I have to leave and go to Broken Hill when I'm four weeks from giving birth. They say to leave three weeks beforehand, but both my kids were early so I'm going four weeks out!"

The Flying Doctor provides security to Fiona and her family, both for emergencies and for family healthcare.

"It's a great service," says Fiona. "It's very good to know that someone can come and get you if you need it."

Every day RFDS flight nurses, doctors, dentists, chronic disease practitioners, mental health staff and other medical specialists encounter a variety of challenging situations, with the need for these services always growing. With your support they will continue to be there to meet each and every one of those challenges and ensure that no matter where you live, the RFDS is there for those who need them.