Graphic: Laura and Archie with RFDS
Laura was visiting her parents in Mukinbudin, a small town 300 kilometres east of Perth, to attend a funeral when a sudden illness took over her body. Laura’s mum rushed her to the nearest hospital which was an hour drive away in Merredin.
Although Laura felt unwell, experiencing nausea and a sore stomach, her main concern was her three-month-old Archie who would need to travel with her if she needed specialist care in Perth.
After examination at hospital, it was suspected that Laura was experiencing appendicitis but would require further testing at Royal Perth Hospital. Laura became anxious and upset with the news that she needed to travel to Perth, as Archie was exclusively breastfed and she was worried about his care during this time.
Laura was given the choice to drive herself to Perth – a three-hour journey, risking her appendix bursting – or to fly with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Laura deemed travelling with the RFDS the best option as she would be supervised by highly trained medical staff and Archie could safely travel with her.
“The RFDS staff who greeted me were so lovely. As soon as they saw Archie, they were happy to hold and look after him while I was being prepared for the flight,” Laura recalls.
“The staff went above and beyond for Archie and I, allowing me to bring Archie’s capsule onboard and keeping me informed and calm throughout the flight.
“I was scared of what would happen with Archie and whether he would be okay but he was a little star! Once the plane arrived, all my worries disappeared as the RFDS crew were just so good with him, I knew it would be fine.
“As we took off, I was chatting with the Flight Nurse who informed me he was also a midwife. We shared stories about the births of our children, and he provided me with breastfeeding advice which was fantastic. I asked him questions about the RFDS and our inflight conversations really helped ease my anxiety.
“Archie also seemed to enjoy the flight, he couldn’t stop staring at the IV bag hanging from the ceiling above us, which was hilarious!”
Laura and Archie arrived at Jandakot Airport after a 40-minute flight and were greeted by two ambulance officers who strapped Archie into his own trolley so they could travel side by side.
They were taken to Royal Perth Hospital were Laura’s appendicitis was confirmed and she was met by her fiancé and sister. Laura was then booked into surgery for the following morning.
Laura has since reflected on her RFDS experience, feeling lucky to have been looked after by such dedicated and genuine people.
“The RFDS will always hold a special place in my heart, especially because of the way they treated Archie and I. We are so lucky to have such special people working around our state, saving people in need and getting them out of remote locations for emergency treatment,” said Laura.
“Without these services, I am sure many people may not survive or would be far worse off.”
“I couldn’t have asked for better people to look after us, they were fantastic.”
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