While many Australians have had a personal Flying Doctor encounter, Amber Driver concedes she has a few more stories than most.
The mum of two who lives on Elkedra Station – 500 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs – has had reason to call upon the Flying Doctor multiple times over the last two decades.
“I could spend hours talking about the times we’ve needed the RFDS,” Amber says.
“The Flying Doctor has a huge influence on remote families feeling confident about living out here and getting through a crisis. Because of them, we know support is there when we need it.”
Elkedra Station is a cattle station, owned and operated by the Driver family for the past four generations.
One of Amber’s earliest interactions with the Flying Doctor was in 2006 when her father-in-law Roy was involved in a serious car roll-over on the property.
“He was in a critical condition. He was bleeding from the ears, had broken ribs and a punctured lung – it was a really scary time,” she says.
“We weren’t able to move him by road to the airstrip, so the doctor and nurse came to us.”
Last year, Amber’s eldest son Sonny had a motorcycle accident while riding out to the station’s airstrip. His leg was badly crushed in the accident.
“It took just three hours for the RFDS to get here, which by our standards, is super quick. The doctors got him stabilised and we were able to get him to Alice Springs Hospital for several operations and for rehabilitation. We’re thankful every day that Sonny’s leg was saved.”
Four months before Sonny’s accident, Amber’s younger son Ruben, aged six at the time, also required the assistance of the Flying Doctor when he was bitten by a redback spider.
“Living remotely, there is such a connection with your community – it’s such a different dynamic. People need to rely on each other. You never know how you’re going to react in an emergency but for our family, I know we can’t talk highly enough of the Flying Doctor. They’ve been there every time.”