Graphic: Hamish Noble riding
Mudgee’s Hamish Noble was on the adventure of a lifetime in outback NSW, when he sustained serious injuries in a freak motorbike accident.
For months Hamish and his friends had been planning the trip, taking them from the Central West to the remote area of Cameron’s Corner.
The four experienced riders had already clocked up about 350 kilometres when the accident happened about 85kms out of Wanaaring, a remote village in north-western NSW.
While his bike cartwheeled further along the road, Hamish landed off to the side, with his upper body bearing the brunt of the force.
Being experienced riders, Hamish and his crew had the appropriate safety equipment with them, including a tracking device and beacon and were also able to conduct First Aid.
Graphic: Hamish being saved
However, they were further assisted by two good Samaritans, camping in the area, who came across the accident and called Triple Zero using their satellite phone.
From there, communications were relayed to the Flying Doctor’s Broken Hill base, who coordinated for Chief Medical Officer Dr Randall Greenberg, Flight Nurse Kerri-Lee, and pilot Craig to retrieve Hamish at the nearest runway, which was back at Wanaaring.
“I’ve worked in a lot of remote areas and have had to coordinate medical evacuations, and have never been a patient,” Hamish said, “so until you’re the patient you don’t realise how critical support is.”
When the medical team arrived, fractured ribs and a ruptured spleen were suspected and Hamish was in a lot of pain, so Dr Greenberg administered strong pain killers which alleviated his suffering significantly.
Using an ultrasound which plugged into his smartphone, Dr Greenberg was able to determine that Hamish had not punctured his lung, and it was thus safe to fly him at regular cabin pressure to Dubbo. There were no signs of a ruptured spleen on the ultrasound, but Hamish needed a CT scan to rule this out.
Hamish was safely flown to Dubbo Hospital where a CT scan revealed multiple rib fractures but thankfully no injury to the spleen.
“There was some slight bleeding and bruising to the lungs too. From what everyone is saying I was pretty lucky,” he said.
Hamish thanked his riding crew and the two campers who helped him when the accident first happened.
“I was very lucky with all the people who were there, even the guys who I was riding with were simply phenomenal, none of them panicked and they made sure I was okay,” he explained.
“Plus, the two guys that stopped were a huge help,” he said before adding that the Flying Doctor crew were “fantastic.”
Hamish said the work of the RFDS gives people like himself the freedom to go out and explore Australia, without the fear of not receiving medical treatment. “Without the RFDS we wouldn’t be able to get out and have that cloud of safety that they offer,” he said.
“The angel of the skies allows us to do that.”