Dr Anthony Rengel

Graphic: Dr Anthony Rengel

Passion for medicine and aviation combined

Date published

16 Jun 2022

As a child, Dr Anthony Rengel loved anything and everything to do with flying and would regularly visit Jandakot Airport to watch aircraft take off and land with his father.

Graphic: anthony rengel

Often, a pit-stop would include visiting the memorial to the late RFDS pilot and nurse Robin Miller at the Jandakot base, where her replica aircraft Mooney stands tall and proud.

Anthony remembers reveling in the stories his father would tell him about Robin’s career of service and adventure delivering essential healthcare across regional and remote WA in the sixties.

Many years later, while Anthony was in medical school, opportunity came knocking when he was offered a month-long opportunity to experience the RFDS in action out of Meekatharra.

“This was an incredible life-changing experience which introduced me to not only the world of retrieval medicine, but a career path as a rural GP to work across a variety of fields,” he said. Since then, I dreamt of one day working with the RFDS.”

In pursuit of his dream job, Anthony came equipped with advanced skills training in anesthesia and emergency medicine, training in aerospace medicine, as well his pilot’s license when he joined the RFDS in 2020.

Graphic: anthony rengel

Anthony said he loves the variety and challenging nature of the role. 

“You encounter everything from a rollover on a farm, to snake bites, to a pre-term labour to a heart attack. On any given day, our patients can be a tourist, a farmer, an elder, a child – can be anyone! There is never a dull moment,” he said.

“Some days we can be diverted while in-flight to respond to an emergency with limited information, so it’s vital we are prepared.

“We always try to prepare for all potential outcomes and pack equipment we can potentially use – such as an ultrasound machine in the event of a trauma or difficult IV access or a vacuum mat if there are spinal injuries.

“It is the provision of the finest care to remote areas and being able to help people, often in their most desperate hour of need, that has driven me to work for the RFDS.”

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