Graphic: Scott Johnston
When Scott Johnston accepted a job opportunity that took him out to the remote gasfields of Moomba, he had no idea that his return trip would be in the back of a Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft, in a critical state.
A serious case of Covid-19 resulted in chest pain and a foreboding sense that something wasn’t right. When the Flying Doctor arrived, Scott was in severe respiratory distress, and he was quickly diagnosed with myocarditis and given life-saving treatment, before being flown to hospital in Adelaide, where he was placed into a coma for three days.
“If it wasn’t for the Flying Doctor I wouldn’t be here. I was told that if they’d arrived an hour later it would have been too late,” Scott said.
Scott headed out to the remote South Australian location as his company had an electrical contract in the area. During a two-week stint there, he became unwell and was diagnosed with Covid-19.
After isolating in his room for two days, Scott began to feel worse, suffering chest pains, difficulty breathing and fatigue.
“I rang the medical centre, and they sent the fire brigade to get me because my accommodation was on the second floor. There was no way I could get down a set of steps with the way I was feeling.”
“The paramedics checked me and got me to the medical centre where they looked after me for some time. I’m a bit hazy about the day but at some stage they decided to contact the Flying Doctor.
“Those guys turned up just as I was starting to go into respiratory distress. I had fluid on my heart, so they got a great big syringe and drained that. Thankfully, I didn’t feel a thing.
“They put me in a plane and got me to Adelaide, where an ambulance took me to Royal Adelaide Hospital where they put me in a coma for three days. I spent two weeks in hospital.”
Fortunately, Scott would go on to make a full recovery.
“Laying down for two weeks, I lost muscle tone and I was walking around with a walking stick when I started moving. I was off work for four weeks and was on office duties until a cardiologist signed off to say I was right. I’m pleased to say, I’m all good,” he said.
Before his experience, Scott was familiar with the Flying Doctor but quickly developed a passionate appreciation.
“I knew bits and pieces about them. I’d seen the plane up at Moomba from time to time. I knew they did a fantastic job but when you are relying on them, it’s something else,” Scott said.
“The doctor and nurse were great. They talked me through everything that was going on, they were very professional. I owe them my life.”