Graphic: Rhonda Vickers
Rhonda Vickers can’t remember too much about her urgent flight with the Royal Flying Doctor Service but the 71-year-old knows it saved her life.
In June last year Rhonda presented to Broken Hill Hospital with pains in the chest, but her situation worsened and when she began to suffer multi-organ failure and cardiac arrest, doctors decided to place her into a coma and transfer her to Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH). That was where the Flying Doctor came in.
“Because I was in a coma, I don’t know anything about the flight but if it wasn’t for the Flying Doctor I wouldn’t be here. There was no other way to get me to Adelaide. I’d had CPR twice, I had multiple organ failure and I had blood clots in the lungs,” Rhonda said.
“The doctor told my family they didn’t think I would make it to Adelaide. I was very lucky, and it was with thanks to the Flying Doctor.”
Graphic: Rhonda in hospital
Even once Rhonda was in RAH, the situation was still serious.
“I spent 10 days in a coma, 12 days in ICU and six weeks at Royal Adelaide Hospital. Thankfully when it was time to come home, the Royal Flying Doctor Service were able to pick me up, and then I spent another week at Broken Hill Hospital,” Rhonda said.
Unlike her first journey with us, Rhonda was able to appreciate her return flight to Broken Hill with the Flying Doctor.
“They were very good to me. The nurse kept checking my blood pressure and making sure I was comfortable,” Rhonda said.
Graphic: Rhonda on holiday
While she still has some difficult days, after a lengthy recovery Rhonda said she knew she was still “very lucky”.
Rhonda and her family have a new appreciation for the work of the Flying Doctor after having heard about others being helped in their time of need.
“My husband and I both spent time on remote stations when we were younger so we knew all about the Flying Doctor but we never thought either of us would have to use it ourselves. They were marvellous,” Rhonda said.