Graphic: Kody Bridge
Kody had a stomach ache for days when his mum Toni took him to the hospital and local GP.
“It’s probably just a viral infection,” the doctor said.
But the pain didn’t go away and he started to have other symptoms including a fever, diarrhea and vomiting.
“He was crying in pain and he wasn’t eating or drinking, so I knew something wasn’t right,” Toni said.
Desperate to get help, Toni drove him for an hour from their farm near Ogunbil, in North West NSW, to the hospital in Tamworth.
At the hospital a scan showed Kody had a serious condition known as intussusception of the bowel and he needed help urgently.
When this happens one portion of the bowel slides into the next, like the pieces of a telescope. It causes intense abdominal pain and the intestine can swell and bleed, cutting off the blood supply and causing part of the bowel to die.
Although it is most common in infants, it is still rare and Kody is one of the few young children to be diagnosed with it.
With paediatric care unavailable at Tamworth Hospital, he had to be flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle for specialist care.
“It was Kody’s first time in an airplane, and I’m not good at flying, but the doctors were so good. They made sure
Kody stayed calm and relaxed through the whole flight,” Toni said.
When they arrived in Newcastle around 40 minutes later, Kody was relaxed and happy for the doctors to help him with a procedure that flushed out his bowel. Thankfully he didn’t require surgery, but he stayed in hospital under observation for a week.
Kody’s dad Dan and sisters Mikaela, 14, and Bridie, 13, drove down to Newcastle to support him in his recovery and then take the family back on the six-hour drive home.
When they got home Kody decided to hold a fundraising event to thank the Royal Flying Doctor Service for their help.
“This is the second time the Flying Doctor has helped our family,” Toni said. “They took my daughter Bridie to hospital when she was attacked by a dog nine years ago and needed surgery and a partial facial reconstruction.”
“Many people don’t know this service exists, or truly understand its vital importance for rural and remote communities.”
With the help of the Dungowan Public School P & C (Parents and Citizens) and the Dungowan Hall Committee, Kody held a movie night and fundraiser in the local community hall.
With a school of just 20 pupils and a community doing it tough in the drought, they were thrilled to have around 60 people attend and raise $224 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
When visiting Dubbo in December, Kody presented the cheque and a handmade thank you card to Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section Board Member Terry Clark.
“We can’t thank the Flying Doctor enough—we are forever grateful for your help in our time of need,” Toni said.