10:42am Inter-Hospital Transfer - 24 hours with the Flying Doctor

Date published

13 Nov 2018

An aeromedical crew at Adelaide Base 'closes doors' on the aircraft at 10:42am set to airlift a patient from Mount Gambier Hospital to Adelaide's Flinders Medical Centre for urgent surgery.

Just two weeks after undergoing life-saving surgery, Noe Matter found himself back in the Emergency Department at Mount Gambier Hospital.

Noe – a painter by trade – had fallen onto concrete from a ladder, sustaining traumatic injuries to the bones around the sinuses and the eye socket. 

Whist the initial operation was a success, follow-up scans revealed a hole between Noe’s brain and nasal passage, requiring further surgery. 

Worryingly, the hole was causing a cerebrospinal fluid leak – a medical condition in which the fluid surrounding the brain leaks out of the dura mater, a protective membrane around the brain.

Once again, the Flying Doctor was tasked to airlift Noe to Adelaide for specialist medical treatment.

Noe's wife Marie recalls the terrifying chain of events. 

Doctors told us there was an air bubble nearly the size of a fist in Noe’s brain cavity.

Noe needed immediate surgery to stop the communication between his sinus and his brain. 

The 435-kilometre drive to Adelaide takes nearly five hours, but a RFDS ‘flying intensive care unit’ covers this ground in just 60 minutes.

Surgeons at Flinders Medical Centre operated to repair the damage, using fat from Noe’s stomach to plug the hole. The operation lasted nearly 10 hours.

From there, Noe’s recovery has been promising. Whilst Noe isn’t yet able to return to work, his future looks bright.

“We are so thankful that Noe’s cognitive function doesn’t appear to have been too badly affected,” says Marie. 

“We are so grateful to the RFDS for everything they have done for Noe. Noe’s accident has been a firm reminder to love those dear to you with everything you have, as you never know what’s around the corner.

Noe is so lucky to be alive.”

DID YOU KNOW? On a daily basis the RFDS airlifts 100 Australians every day – over 25 aeromedical missions throughout South Australia and Northern Territory every day.

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