Not all of those who are flown by the Flying Doctor need help because of an accident or emergency. Every year the Flying Doctor flies just over 80 patients home on repatriation flights after receiving care in a tertiary hospital.
Ruth Walmsley is one such patient. After spinal surgery in September last year Ruth was facing a long and painful car ride home.
"It would have taken my husband and I at least eight hours to drive home, taking regular breaks as I was still recovering form surgery. I was still very weak and could not have sat comfortably for that length of journey. It would have been very painful," Ruth said.
"If the Flying Doctor hadn't been available to fly me home, I would have ended up staying in hospital a lot longer, needing more time and taking up a bed that could have been used by someone else needing help."
After spending seven days in Brisbane recovering from surgery, Ruth was flown to Bundaberg late one night.
"I am so grateful for the care I received on-board and how the nurse helped managed my pain," Ruth recalled.
"It was a very quick, smooth flight and it was wonderful to know I was being flown home to be closer to family and friends."
Jillian Thurlow, RFDS Flight Nurse, Bundaberg Base, looked after Ruth on her flight home.
"It was a pleasure to care for Ruth, I was glad I was able to assist her and make her comfortable during the flight," Jill recalls.
Ruth is now at home and pleased to report after years suffering from back and referred pain, she is now feeling a lot better.
"I still have a long way to go and attend regular physiotherapy appointments but am thrilled with how the surgery wet and how I'm recovering," she said.