We were there for Chris when he needed us

Graphic: We were there for Chris when he needed us

We were there for Chris when he needed us

Date published

31 Jan 2024

Living in a community with limited medical services can be a challenge, so when Chris O’Connell found himself with severe back pain he was grateful to the Flying Doctor for being there.

In late April 2023, Chris needed to get from the small country town of Tocumwal, on the NSW-Victorian border, to Melbourne for surgery.

“Over the years I have had some back problems and in April I was in quite a lot of pain. I was in hospital in Tocumwal where there is no attending doctor. They needed to get me to Melbourne and they engaged the Flying Doctor to get me,” Chris said.

RFDS Pilot Tamlyn Gresser and Flight Nurse Lhy Smith were soon landing in Tocumwal to assist.

“The pilot and nurse were great. They flew me to Essendon and from there I was transported to John Fawkner Hospital,” Chris said.

Graphic: Chris, pictured with wife Judy, is grateful to the Flying Doctor

It was there Chris underwent a discectomy to relieve pressure on the discs of his spine.

That operation, and a follow up surgery, have eased his pain and suffering.

Chris said he was appreciative to the RFDS for being able to arrive quickly and provide him with a quick and comfortable journey.

“It’s quite common to see the Flying Doctor here. One of the advantages we do have here is a lit aerodrome so they can land any time of day. It’s the first time I’d had to use their services but they were just marvellous,” Chris said.

“At a time when I was in a lot of strife it was great to have a professional organisation that was able to come in and get me out of trouble and get where I needed to be. The relief of having them arrive is hard to describe.”