A midnight flight to safety

Date published

29 Nov 2019

As a mum of three young kids, Kellie loves living in rural Queensland. Based in Mount Isa, the family can often be found camping in Adel’s Park, near the beautiful Lawn Gorge National Park or out by the Gregory River. 

Living in the rural north-west means they’ve got some of Australia’s most beautiful outback scenery right on their doorstep. But it also means they’re a long way from specialist hospital care should the worst happen. 

Coming from the country, Kellie has always admired the work of the Flying Doctor. But she also has a very personal reason for wanting to support us. 

It was Easter Sunday 2010, when her youngest son, Taige, suddenly became very ill. He was vomiting and suffering from painful abdominal cramps. Taige is the youngest of three, so Kellie was used to her children falling ill from time to time, but she knew this was different. It was obvious that little Taige, only seven months old at the time, was in a serious condition. 

Kellie rushed her baby boy to the Emergency Department at Mount Isa Hospital. Once there, her suspicions were confirmed by a

“…the paediatrician came in to assess him.There were only a few words I can remember the doctor saying and that was that he needed to be flown to Townsville for surgery,” Kellie recalls. 

Just imagine the fear Kellie felt in that moment, hearing her baby was seriously ill. And the added pain of knowing that because of where she lived, the specialist care her child urgently needed was many hundreds of kilometres away.

By 11pm that evening, Kellie and Taige were in an ambulance on their way to the Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft that would fly them directly to Townsville Hospital. By this point, Taige’s condition had worsened and he was screaming in
constant pain.

Taige was suffering from intussusception, a condition where the small bowel makes its way into the large bowel. The condition can cause severe complications if not treated immediately. Your kind support means our crew were on
hand to give Kellie and Taige the help they needed. Your generosity kept our aircraft fully-equipped and ready to make the one-and-a-half-hour flight to Townsville – a trip that would have taken over nine hours by road.

Taige was treated and recovered quickly. But a month later, the condition returned. Once again, the Flying Doctor was there to take Kellie and her young son to Townsville for urgent treatment.

To look at Taige now, you’d never know how ill he was in those early months. But Kellie will never forget the care shown by our Flying Doctor crew.

This year, Kellie decided to join the 2019 Isa Rodeo Queen Contest to raise funds for the RFDS and increase awareness of the many ways the service supports her local community. “I wanted to be able to share my story and say how thankful I am for everything that the Royal Flying Doctor Service did for my son and my family at that time in our lives. They will always hold a special part in my heart and for that I will be forever grateful,” Kellie said.

Your generous support is providing an essential service for families like Kellie’s living across our vast state. Because of you, our aeromedical teams will young children like Taige need us the most.