Graphic: Archie Buick

Flying Doctor calls for help to assist burns patients across Queensland

Date published

03 Mar 2021

Latest figures from the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) reveal an average of 73 patients each year are flown to emergency care with burns-related injuries.

Four-year-old Archie Buick was one of these patients. Archie was flown to Townsville University Hospital by the RFDS after a tragic accident in which he slipped and fell into a fire pit at his family home in Richmond, 500km away from the specialist care his serious injuries required.

Despite being only metres away from his son at the time, Archie’s dad Nick was unable to stop the terrible incident from happening.

“Archie screamed like I’d never heard him scream before,” Nick said. “It was horrific, and we just started putting water on the burn before I decided we had to get him to hospital straight away.”

Archie Buick and his father Nick

Archie was driven to the nearby Richmond Hospital by his parents before being flown by the RFDS to Townsville for specialist treatment, including skin grafts. Recovery from severe burns takes time, but fortunately he is now back home and recovering.  

Archie’s story is nothing new to RFDS medical crews, with more than 70 burns patients flown by the service in Queensland each year.

Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) CEO Meredith Staib said Archie’s story and the incredible resilience he showed during the ordeal, will hopefully inspire people to help those in a similar situation.

The RFDS (Queensland section) has set a goal of raising $255,280 during its Burns Appeal, with the funds being used to help purchase specialist burns kits for every Flying Doctor aircraft across the state.

“With burns patients, time is absolutely critical in successfully treating the wounds,” Ms Staib said.

“If every one of our medical crews have the right equipment when they need it, they can deliver the best care possible while flying patients to specialist burns units.”

The RFDS Burns Appeal was held from February 24 to the beginning of May.