Graphic: Cliff with his catch

The one that got away


19 Feb 2018

Every year, the Flying Doctor uses over $191,000 worth of consumables and medicines to help patients like Cliff Packham stay alive, when they are faced with life-threatening emergencies in some of Queensland's most remote locations.

Please will you donate right now to help us supply every Flying Doctor aircraft with the basic but essential supplies that we simply can't save lives without?


There are so many important reasons why the care of our supporters really matters. And I think they are summed up very powerfully in the story of what happened to Queenslander, Cliff Packham last September.

Cliff is the only person I've ever spoken to who can tell you what it feels like to survive a heart attack and two cardiac arrests in one day.

The first cardiac arrest happened while he was strolling with his fishing buddies along a beach on remote Sweers Island; the second was while he was being lowered from a Flying Doctor aircraft at our base in Townsville, some 1,000km away. 

Twice his heart stopped beating, twice his lungs stopped pumping and twice his circulation ground to a halt. And when he awoke in Townsville Hospital 24 hours after he collapsed, he has no idea what happened or why he was still alive. 

It took Cliff several months to work out that his survival had less to do with luck, and more to do with his friends' quick thinking, the Flying Doctor's speedy response, Townsville Hospital's excellent cardiac surgeons - and the basic but vital consumable and medicines like those I'm asking for your help to fund today

What kept him alive on his flight from Sweers Island to Townsville was simple things like the cannula that enables us to administer morphine, the Tenecteplase medication that helped increase the flow of blood to his heart, and the disposable electrodes that allowed us to carry out ECG monitoring throughout his transfer. 


Having a reliable supply of consumables and medications made it possible for us to fly Cliff to safety when he so nearly passed away last September. And while these basic items may not be hugely costly on their own, in the vast quantities required to keep your family and the people of Queensland safe, they represent a very significant expense indeed.

Today, Cliff is recovering well at his nephew's home on the Sunshine Coast. Every day he is feeling a bit stronger, and although it's only been five months since he almost died twice, he's already planning for the day he's well enough to return to Sweers Island and pick up the pieces of his once-in-a-lifetime holiday. 

Thanks to all of our supporters for helping to give Cliff back his life, and thank you for whatever you are able to donate to help towards the cost of the consumables and medicines that make it possible for us to keep all who live, work, and travel in Queensland safe.