A Christmas miracle - Jeremy's Flying Doctor story

Date published

21 Dec 2018

Displaced from home, Wheatbelt resident Sherelle and her husband had to spend Christmas at Princess Margaret Hospital where their one-year-old son Jeremy was recovering from open brain surgery. Fast forward ten years, 11-year-old Jeremy visited the RFDS Jandakot base where mum Sherelle recollected being in safe hands on the emergency flight from Kununoppin Hospital to Perth.

Jeremy and his family at the RFDS Jandakot base

Wheatbelt resident Sherelle was bottle feeding her baby boy Jeremy in the wee hours of the morning in October 2008 when she sensed something was amiss.

Jeremy, who was near one-year-old at the time, had been born with heart defects and being hyper-alert to Jeremy’s vital signs had become second nature to Sherelle.

On closer inspection, Jeremy appeared to be dazed and his eyes had moved off to the side. Things escalated quickly when Jeremy started convulsing.  

“Its 3am in the morning and I’m in my pyjamas and my husband Nick is driving us to Kununoppin Hospital which is about 15 to 20 minutes away,” she said.

“We were about half way to the hospital and Jeremy started frothing at the mouth and I told my husband Nick to put his foot down.”

At the local hospital, a doctor was able to stabilise Jeremy’s condition by administering anti-seizure medication and continued to monitor Jeremy’s vital signs. Till this point, Jeremy had been seizing for 45 minutes.

In need of further testing and specialist care, concerned medical staff at the hospital tasked the Flying Doctor to transport Jeremy to Perth.

In-flight, the RFDS medical crew monitored Jeremy’s vital signs and Sherelle, who was pregnant with her second child, remembers being comforted by the doctor on board.  

At Princess Margaret Hospital, Jeremy underwent tests and scans and was found to have an abscess on his brain. The abscess required open brain surgery to remove and Jeremy had to spend the next three months in hospital before being able to go home.

These days, Sherelle said 11-year-old Jeremy refers to his surgery scars as his ‘war wounds’ and is a spirited child despite the health journey he’s had to endure.   

“Jeremy wouldn’t be alive today if the RFDS didn’t come to get us that day,” she said.

“Knowing that the RFDS will come if you ever need them helps us to feel secure out there.”

Baby Jeremy Christmas 2008
Jeremy and sister Kate checking out the cockpit of  PC-12 turboprop aircraft 'Isla'