Tash Yeo in hospital bed

Graphic: Tash Yeo in hospital bed

Critical care for a genetic heart condition

Date published

27 Jan 2021

Tash Yeo’s concerned friend urged her to get a check-up at their local hospital when he noticed her heart was racing and she was out of breath.

Tash Yeo

“I grew up on a farm with my parents and younger brother raising cattle, crossbred sheep and various crops,” Tash said. 

“I have always appreciated growing up on a farm because I have developed so many practical skills. I can problem solve, think freely, and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. There is nothing better than waking up before sunrise and doing a hard day’s work, and then watching the sun go down feeling like I’ve accomplished a lot during the day,” Tash said. 

One evening, while watching television with a friend in Gulgong, Tash noticed her heart was racing and pounding in her chest. As she was also feeling tired and out of breath, despite being at rest, Tash’s friend became concerned and decided to make the two-hour drive to Dubbo Hospital so Tash could be examined. The hospital admitted Tash and did some observations, and it was quickly decided that she needed to go to Sydney for specialist care. 

“As I required cardiac monitoring, the doctors ruled out the option of me travelling by road, due to there not being a signal for the duration of the trip. I was informed that the Royal Flying Doctor Service would take me by air to Sydney to ensure I could be closely monitored,” Tash said. 

Tash was exhausted and her heart rate hadn’t come down. She remembers falling asleep on a Thursday morning and waking up in time to see a small patient bed on a wheeled trolley coming towards her followed by two staff in blue RFDS uniform. “The RFDS nurses introduced themselves, helped me to get onto the stretcher, and wheeled me outside to the Flying Doctor transport van that was waiting. Once I was strapped in, we departed the hospital and I was driven to the airport, where there was no check-in, no queues, and no flight announcements,” Tash said. 

“I was wheeled straight to the awaiting plane and the nurses hoisted my stretcher inside the cabin. During the trip, I was able to talk to my RFDS nurse, Annie. She was so lovely and could not have been more helpful. She ensured I was comfortable throughout the trip and was very reassuring,” Tash remembers.

Tash horse riding

“I was, and still am, so thankful for the complete care and memorable experience I had with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The staff were very professional and provided excellent care, allowing me to feel safe and at ease during a mentally and physically challenging time in my life,” Tash said. 

After landing in Bankstown, Tash was driven to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital by the two friendly RFDS nurses. “They talked to me for the entire trip and made me feel at ease,” Tash said. 

After many tests in Sydney, doctors discovered that Tash had a genetic heart condition and underwent heart surgery during which she was fitted with a cardiac device.

After some rest at Royal Prince Alfred, Tash was able to return to her life in the bush. She is now feeling better since her surgery but needs to ensure she has enough rest.

“The RFDS is an incredible organisation which allows people in rural and remote areas to access the best health care in Australia. Without them, individuals and families must sacrifice a great deal to get their loved ones to specialists hundreds, and sometimes thousands of kilometres away,” Tash said.

“I am so grateful to the people who donate to the Flying Doctor so they can be there to help rural Australians like myself.”

“I will always be thankful for the care the Flying Doctor team gave me in my time of need, and I choose to support them because they are a great organisation that save lives,” Tash said.