Thomas' Journey

Date published

09 Nov 2016

At seven weeks old little Thomas got very ill and began struggling to breathe. What happened to him can happen to any baby in the world.


There's no more beautiful a sound than the gasp of a newborn drawing its very first breath. And no worse than the shallow rasp of a very ill child who's fast approaching his last.

For Brooke and Lachlan, hearing their seven-week old baby trying and failing to suck enough air into his badly infected lungs was almost unbearable.

In just four days, little Thomas had gone from having what seemed like a mild cold, to a hacking cough, to a raging fever, to violent projectile vomiting, to struggling for breath.

To make matters even worse, they were in the small town of Roma, 500km away from the intensive care that Thomas needed urgently.

Brooke and Lachlan feared their baby's little body might not have the strength to survive the eight-hour drive. And so they were overwhelmed when doctors at their small local hospital called Retrieval Services Queensland to their aid. Retrieval Services worked quickly with the RFDS to make sure help was on its way.

Mum Brooke will never forget the moment our aeromedical team arrived on the scene:

"It was the first time I felt safe in four days. Watching them hook Thomas up to their monitors and high-tech ventilators – I knew that my baby was in the best possible hands."

Brooke was right to feel comforted. Because not only are the Flying Doctors and the Queensland Health aeromedical team they work with some of the most well trained and highly experienced emergency personnel in the world. They are also among the best equipped.

Shortly after receiving the emergency call for help, two paediatric emergency specialists from the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital and a highly experienced RFDS Flight Nurse were in the air and speeding their way to Roma.

Once there, they placed Thomas in a Humidicrib to help ventilate him and regulate his temperature on the journey. They also attached him to a Propaq monitor so that they could keep an eye on his vital signs.