Graphic: Darcy Mitchell
In the past year, nearly 10,000 people across Western Australia have relied on the Royal Flying Doctor Service. In delivering the finest care to the furthest corners of WA, the Flying Doctor responded to a call for help from the Douthie family for 18-month-old Darcy.
Albany mum-of-three Kate Douthie was looking forward to morning tea and her boys having a nap after tending to the animals on her farm on an ordinary Monday morning in March.
“Mummy, Mummy! Come look at Darcy!” Kate recalls her three-year-old Harry calling out to her. Kate said she found Darcy in a way parents never hope to find their child.
Darcy was blue.
“I kicked into gear and started CPR and I got him back, but it felt like an eternity,” Kate said.
Two weeks passed and Darcy appeared to be on the mend. But suddenly Darcy again fell unwell again and suffered a seizure.
“Time is not your friend when your baby is experiencing seizures and you desperately need answers. Driving five hours to Perth or taking a regular flight the next morning without medical support wasn’t an option, so we decided to head straight to Albany Hospital,” she said.
The next morning, while at Albany Hospital, Darcy experienced another seizure, his third in just two weeks.
“Darcy’s eyes were turned to the left and he was screaming, it was really scary,” Kate said. “I ran into the corridor for help.”
Only a couple of hours later, Kate and Darcy were making their way to Perth Children’s Hospital on board an RFDS PC-12 aircraft under the watchful eye of a doctor and flight nurse who monitored Darcy throughout the flight.
“I don’t know how to explain how grateful I am to Pilot Matt, Nurse Ali and Doctor Albi for getting us so quickly and safely to a pediatric neurologist in Perth,” Kate said.
“Also, I couldn’t believe how small the plane was and how much equipment there was in there and how the doctors and nurses work in such a small space!”
Darcy received vital medical care during the flight. Your donations help provide our crews with essential equipment needed for patients who need specialist care.
After spending a week at Perth Children’s Hospital for tests, Darcy was discharged. He now takes medication twice daily for epilepsy.
“Although I was terrified about coming back to the farm, I knew I had the medication we needed, some answers from specialist doctors, first-aid training and the RFDS, our ‘angels in the sky’. I’m glad that our family is back in our happy place.”
“You take the Flying Doctor for granted until you need them. But when you do, it’s comforting to know we can live out here and help will come in your worst hour. Our family knows the RFDS has our back.”
“I’m donating to help keep the Flying Doctor flying, and to help many other families out there who never know when they might need to call upon them for help,” Kate said.
Graphic: Help support your Flying Doctor
As demand for our lifesaving services across WA grows, your generosity helps us to be there for families like Darcy's.
Please donate to the RFDS in Western Australia to help provide vital equipment and training, ensuring our highly qualified crews are ready to respond.
With your help, we have created a world-class aeromedical service. It takes all our supporters to keep us in the air, 24 hours a day, and keep the Flying Doctor promise to provide the finest care to the furthest corners of our State.