Royal Flying Doctors to the Rescue!

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While a title like Royal Flying Doctors might evoke images of yet another hospital trip for Kelly (as happened in Thailand and Hawaii), this story has a much happier ending.

This post was originally published in 2008. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.

No, instead, this is about an incredible tour we did of the Royal Flying Doctors Base in Broken Hill.  

Australia is big. Really big. And although Broken Hill is known as the “accessible outback”, most of the outback isn’t so easy to get to and through. So when a medical emergency strikes, there aren’t many options.

Until John Flynn entered the scene in the early 1900s, the options were either to survive or die. No outside help would be forthcoming. But John Flynn, a visionary who was distraught that the outback’s 2 million square kilometers was serviced by just two doctors, saw possibilities.

Against odds and criticism, he set up a program with radio alerts, a little canvas plane, and medical supply boxes that changed the face of medicine in rural Australia.  

The program blossomed from its start in 1928 to now: with 22 bases across the country, medical help is never more than 2 hours away, no matter how remote you are. These 22 bases serve a chunk of land larger than Western Europe. The program has two components: medical clinics (with a focus on prevention), and emergency service.

So not only can the RFDS help travelers and residents in the outback who are in need of emergency assistance, but the communities throughout the country are empowered with their own medical kits and regular clinics to prevent people from becoming ill or injured in the first place. W

e had a chance to chat with some of the employees at the base, and we even were so lucky as to get a peek inside the emergency services plane and speak with two emergency nurses. Stories of adventure and courage were plentiful, and we could tell that there is a strong bond among employees at the base peppered with lots of humour and fun.

“I couldn’t imagine going back to working for a living,” said Brendan, of his career as an emergency nurse. “Sure, you’re alone in the back of a metal tube at 20,000 feet providing medical care. It can be tough at times. But the view is incredible,” he said.      

The view was indeed incredible. We saw a full rainbow from the plane, and learned even more about the incredible outback and its medical angels. Read all about it at the full article here, courtesy of World Nomads.

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