Working with the RFDS is a unique and rewarding experience, RFDS doctor Christophe says.
He first came to know about the Flying Doctor thanks to the original television series, but it wasn’t until years later after attending a medical conference in Scotland that Christophe got serious about a career with the RFDS.
The Belgian-native had dreams of living in Australia which were realised when he became part of a team of 10 Retrieval Medical Officers working across the Broken Hill and Dubbo bases.
Christophe’s unique story even garnered the interest of local media, where he shared how special the Flying Doctor is.
“The logistics – the desert environment, the weather, the sandy runways on remote properties, the vast distances we fly patients to major hospitals in extreme weather conditions – all make it very challenging, but I’ve always had an adventurous side so that’s what I was looking for,” he said in the article.
“To take medicine out of the hospital and deliver it to the patient, has always been of interest to me.
"We do this in Belgium in rapid response vehicles – it’s called pre-hospital medicine – but the Flying Doctors take this to the next level. It’s kind of extreme medicine. It certainly takes you out of your comfort zone at times.”
Christophe said there are many rewarding aspects of the job, but one of the biggest was the satisfaction he felt from helping rural and remote patients.
“You really feel they value the importance of the RFDS," he said.
“Oftentimes we are the only healthcare provider in the area, so we really feel that we matter and are making a difference.”Dr Christophe Duchatelet
Because of this, rural and remote communities who use our services are some of our biggest and generous supporters which Christophe saw this first-hand when he attended the Broken Hill Women’s Auxiliary Ball in May.
“It was so great to be a part of (the evening). It was such a fun event,” he said.
“People are very involved in trying to make RFDS better, with things like fundraising. They have so much respect and gratitude.”
Graphic: Christophe and his RFDS team
For those doctors thinking of a career with the RFDS Christophe strongly encouraged them to give it a go.
“It is one of the most unique and rewarding jobs in your career,” he explained.
“You will be very well supported by the team, and because of its great work/life balance you will also have plenty of time to explore Australia as well.”