Hayley's snake bite scare

Date published

26 May 2020

Eight-year-old Hayley was taking it in turns on the trampoline with her two little sisters. When she jumped off, she didn’t land in the dirt like she normally did.

She went into the grass.

Seconds later, she ran into the house—crying and screaming. “A snake bit me,” she said, “Am I going to die?”

A bite from an unknown snake is always treated as a medical emergency. Thankfully, Catherine—Hayley’s mum—was prepared. She pulled out the snake bite first aid kit. She started to bandage Hayley’s leg. And she tried to keep Hayley calm.

But Catherine wasn’t calm on the inside.
“What if Hayley dies?” She thought. “What if this is part of our story now that we had a daughter who died at eight years old from a snake bite?" 

A snake bite. A serious accident. A sudden, life-threatening illness. A difficult birth. Our aeromedical teams have to be ready to face anything. They need so many skills—from resuscitation and critical care, to keeping a distressed and shocked patient calm.

You can help provide the hi-tech equipment they need to train.  

We're building a new Clinical Simulation Training Centre at our Cairns Base, and for equipment and training across our nine bases in Queensland.

The new centre will play a critical role in preparing our aeromedical teams. Audio-visual displays replicate the scene of a medical emergency. And the teams treat a high-tech manikin that responds like a human patient.

It’s like real life only the team will have the chance to try out alternative scenarios. They’ll be able to review what they’ve done, and repeat it until everything runs like clockwork.

That means when a real call comes through, they’ll know exactly what to do, even in the most challenging of situations. Because they’ll have done it before.

Catherine and her husband David took Hayley to their local hospital in Julia Creek. They didn’t know what kind of snake had bitten Hayley, but their fears were growing. They knew some venom could damage not only their little girl’s leg, but also her major organs. It was an emergency and the decision was made to transfer Hayley to Mount Isa Hospital—a three-hour journey by car.

Thanks to the generosity of RFDS supporters, Hayley didn’t have to make that agonising journey. The Flying Doctor flew her to hospital in 30 minutes.

You can make sure our aeromedical teams arrive ready and prepared for any medical emergency by clicking here.