Graphic: Lady with chest full of medical supplies

New AEDs to enhance RFDS Medical Chests

Date published

16 May 2018
AED equipment

In consultation with an on-call RFDS Medical Officer via telephone and radio, RFDS Medical Chests allow patients to be treated for a range of medical conditions guided by the doctor, who approves the use of antibiotics, pain relief and other treatments including those required prior to aeromedical evacuation. 

“AEDs are a potentially life-saving device that most people in metropolitan areas take for granted – they are typically available in airports, hotels, large shopping centres,” says Dr John Woodall,  Chief Medical Officer, RFDS Central Operations.

“In a cardiovascular crisis, the detection of an abnormal and ‘shockable’ cardiac rhythm followed by prompt, appropriate, defibrillation can be life-saving,” Dr Woodall says. “Studies show that improved public access to defibrillation doubles the survival rate of patients at one month post cardiac arrest, with survivors having a ‘favourable neurologic’ outcome.”

Dr Woodall suggests your partner or work colleague collapsing without warning as an example. “Informed by your First Aid training, you call for help and take turns providing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR); applying forceful chest  compressions at a 100 per minute,” he says. “You retrieve the AED from the medical chest and apply the pads; if a shockable rhythm is recorded the ‘voice’ of the defibrillator prompts you to deliver a ‘shock’.

“Your energetic CPR, now combined with the AED, will give the patient the best chance of survival whilst the Flying Doctor is on its way."

Lady smiles with chest full of pharmaceutical items

“We are exceedingly grateful to TAL for the generosity shown by their employees to support this valuable innovation, which will undoubtedly save lives,” Dr Woodall says.

TAL is National Partner of the RFDS. In addition to its three-year corporate sponsorship, TAL employees embraced the fundraising challenge set by the company to help the RFDS save the lives of rural and remote Australians.

Their efforts raised more than $112,000 in the process – which, when matched defibrillator for defibrillator by the TAL Community Foundation, amounted to the 80 new AEDs.

“Thank you TAL. It’s wonderful to have the veryprompt recognition by a donor that (the AED) is a valuable innovation and to come behind us and help us deliver it,” Dr Woodall says.

Kent Griffin, TAL Chief Financial Officer and TAL Community Foundation council member says his company is “delighted” to be working in partnership with the RFDS. “The partnership between TAL and the RFDS brings together two organisations that share a focus on finding innovative ways to make a real difference,” Griffin says.

“We are delighted to have been able to contribute in a meaningful way to the RFDS, to help them deliver life-improving medical services and expertise to Australians when they need it
most. “We look forward to building on the success of our ‘Insuring the heart of Australia’ campaign throughout our partnership with the RFDS.”

Image: Petie Rankin, McDouall Peak Station, via Coober Pedy, with a RFDS Medical Chest.