Graphic: Broome Retrieval

Bob just loved the ride!

Date published

28 Apr 2020

When Bob Niven’s daughter and family moved to the Pilbara town of Marble Bar, he felt the distance keenly. 

But he took comfort in the knowledge that his donations to the Flying Doctor would help protect his grandchildren if ever there was a need. 

He never imagined that he would be the one to call on our emergency service. 

Late last year, he was seconded to project manage a school site in Broome and had a heart attack far from home. 

The healthy 72 year-old, felt his chest tighten at his Broome worksite but didn’t think much of it until his wife insisted he go to the hospital. 

The Broome hospital nurse immediately realized the severity of Bob’s condition and wired him up for monitoring. Not long after, while a Doctor confirmed Bob had had a heart attack, Bob had a second massive heart attack in the bed. 

Only hours later, Bob was in an RFDS aircraft en route from Broome to Royal Perth Hospital for specialist care. 

Bob was aero medically treated throughout the four-hour journey, ensuring he had the very best chance of recovery. 

The stabilisation and speed to get down to Perth had a positive impact in minimising the damage from the two heart attacks. 

Bob said that amid the stress of a high-pressure situation, the comforting presence of the Flying Doctor medical team kept Bob relaxed as he made his way to tertiary care in Perth. 

“The in-flight care was fantastic! The calmness of everybody was a big factor. If they were stressed, I would have been stressed,” he said. 

“The medical team on board took great care of me. They monitored my condition by taking cardiographs throughout the flight.” 

Bob was so impressed with his RFDS experience, that when he arrived at the Jandakot base, he turned around to the crew and joked: “Thanks guys! I just loved the ride in your stretch limo. My experience in-flight was just so good. It was the best soft landing I have ever experienced.”