Family lucky to be alive after Outback crash

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1 FLYER No.3 AUGUST 2013 > Family lucky to be alive after Outback crash For Rosy Ellsmore and her family, life changed forever on a long straight road near the Queensland and Northern Territory border. The family being loaded onto an RFDS plane. They were only two weeks into a trip around Australia when they were involved in a single vehicle accident just outside the small Outback town of Camooweal. Their trailer jack-knifed and in the path of an oncoming road train, the family car left the road, hit a concrete culvert and rolled point to point. We ve relived it many times, says Rosy, who lives at Wilton, about 80 km south of Sydney. It was the strangest accident. We thought our time was up. Rosy s husband, Tim, was driving. Their two children, Angus, 9, and Madaleine, 7, were in the back seat. Conditions were sunny and clear that day. The bitumen road had little traffic and the family s sedan was travelling at the legal speed limit. The next minute the trailer got into a bit of a whip behind the car. We d had a few before. The trailer starts to whip and you just accelerate a bit and it pulls it out. Tim tried that this time and next minute the trailer was coming right over onto the other side of the road. It was so weird how calm you are when something like this happens. The car and the trailer became quite out of control and Tim said we ve got to get off the road. There was a road train coming in the other direction. We could see it in the distance. Tim then said we re probably going to crash. It was lucky he was driving because he used every bit of strength he had. As it left the bitumen, the family s sedan smashed into a concrete culvert, busting the trailer connection and sending it freewheeling across the dirt. The car then rolled before landing back on its wheels. Rosy recalls blacking out briefly and then waking to see her husband unconscious beside her. I thought he was dead, she says. The family s car after the accident. > Camooweal, QLD A policeman from Camooweal, who took photos of the scene, told her later his first reaction was: It s a family and it will be four fatalities. Rosy had broken her hand and had extensive bruising. Tim s foot was badly hurt. The children were bloodied and bruised. All four were in shock. We were there, we were all there. I was starting to get frightened, then I saw that tiny little dot in the sky It was an RFDS plane. I will never forget it that s when we knew we were going to get to the hospital. The Ellsmore family before their accident. Rosy says the RFDS managed to fit all four family members on board for the trip to Mt. Isa. It was like the RFDS just appeared out of the desert, these people to help us. We were lying in the middle of nowhere, all of us smashed up. You just can t describe how relieved you are. The whole thing was a miracle. We know we re lucky to be alive. We ve got our children, we ve got each other. We re just very thankful. Without the RFDS, I don t think we would have survived. People just don t realise 1

2 Message from the President > Bankstown Open Day. Dear Members 2013 continues to be a busy and productive year. I was pleased to attend our recent Bankstown Open Day in Sydney and have the opportunity to meet so many of our donors and supporters. To mark our 85th anniversary, an invitation was also extended to the general public. It was clear many took up the opportunity to visit us, with more than 600 people through the gate. For those of you who came along, thank you for joining our celebrations Our annual Outback Trek was completed on June 8. This year it travelled from Bathurst in NSW to Coolum in Queensland, with over 100 cars and their teams participating. Pledges are still being tallied for 2013, but since its inception 24 years ago the Trek has raised over $20 million. All funds raised go towards ensuring our doctors and dentists keep flying so thank you Trekkers! Events continue to celebrate our 85th anniversary, including an annual ball hosted by the Rotary Club of Dubbo South, which raised over $69,000. This event marks an association with the club stretching back 25 years. And when I look at my calendar I see a strong list of exciting community events still to take place before the end of the year. We are certainly grateful for the tireless fundraising work undertaken by our supporters and volunteers. Their commitment and energy help keep the Doctor flying. But I am equally struck by the deep connections that exist between individuals and community groups who support the RFDS. Their shared vision is a reminder of the spirit that inspired our founder John Flynn and continues to make the Flying Doctor unique in Australian history. John Milhinch OAM President South Eastern Section Great day at Bankstown This year s Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern (SE) Section Bankstown Open Day in Sydney was a spectacular success. More than 600 people flooded in through the gates at flight school Basair Australia on Sunday, May 26. The weather was glorious clear and sunny skies with the highlights being an action-packed speaker line-up and tours of RFDS aircraft. Peter and Robin Smith from Newcastle told the crowd about their Outback rescue by the RFDS several years ago. Wendy Miles, daughter of Qantas co-founder Hudson Fysh, gave a lively presentation with her recollections of her father s early years with John Flynn. The weather was glorious clear and sunny skies with the highlights being an action-packed speaker line-up and tours of RFDS aircraft. Pauline Hunt spoke about the Country Womens Association (CWA) NSW s long-standing association with the RFDS just before presenting a special 85th birthday cake baked by members of the CWA. And RFDS SE staff gave insight into the human face of our organisation, and what they love about their roles. Our president, John Milhinch OAM, opened the day by welcoming our friends, supporters and volunteers. Unlike in previous years we included the general public in our Open Day, in celebration of our 85th year. This resulted in the number of attendees almost doubling compared to last year. 2

3 Glenn s journey of recovery and courage New Royal Flying Doctor Service pilot Glenn Todhunter knows what it s like to be a patient in a medical emergency. In 1995, while on leave as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot from the Australian army, he was involved in an ultralight crash while undertaking the final stages of an instructor s course. > Townsville, QLD When Glenn woke up in intensive care nearly three days later, both his legs had been amputated. Doctors told him he would be in hospital for at least six months. He was discharged in two. Twelve months of rehabilitation followed, including the often painful and slow process of learning to walk using prosthetics. The iconic book, Reach for the Sky about legless Battle of Britain Ace Douglas Bader, was an inspiration, as was his wife, Michelle. him back behind the controls of an Army Black Hawk, and eventually a King Air fixedwing aircraft. And during this time, he began to contemplate civilian life. Glenn and Michelle and their two children, Mickaela, 15, and Jesse, 13, moved to North Tasmania in May last year as part of a tree change. I was aware of the RFDS I know how important the service is. And I know what it s like first hand being down the back of an aircraft as a patient. He and colleague Jeff Britten were practising a procedure called engine failure after take off above an airstrip outside of Townsville. But the practice turned into a real emergency when the aircraft flew into what Glenn believes was wind shear a rapid change of wind direction and speed. The controls just went limp, he recalls. From 200 feet, we started going into a spin. Seconds later they hit the ground. Glenn lay dazed and immobilised, with traumatic injuries to his lower legs. He remembers seeing his right knee bent 180 degrees back towards his groin. Jeff, suffering facial injuries, a broken right arm, lumbar vertebrae fractures and with his right foot badly damaged, crawled for three and a half hours across the paddock to the club house a kilometre away. There he found the only phone was key-locked, so continued on another 100 metres to his caravan. He managed to telephone a mate before lapsing into unconsciousness. Meanwhile, Glenn didn t know how long it would take for help to arrive. I was losing blood, he recalls. I found out in hospital later I had a severed artery in what remained of my right ankle. His army training kicked in. He used his belt to pull himself into the trauma position, knowing death could come quickly if he vomited after blacking out. Through breathing techniques, he slowed his heart rate down to 110 beats a minute. The rationale in a survival situation is the slower you lose blood the longer you have to survive. He says he had no idea whether Jeff had managed to raise help or had passed out 100 metres away. It was 10:30 on a hot Townsville morning and nobody else was around. Then he heard the arrival of a medical evacuation helicopter. Words can t describe the relief. Being a helicopter pilot myself I waved my arms around to let him know I was alive, and to give him a sense of urgency. I remember grabbing the paramedic by the shirt and saying there were two people on this plane and one of them is very badly injured. You need to go up and get him. Glenn Todhunter at Launceston Base. I remember grabbing the paramedic by the shirt and saying there were two people on this plane and one of them is very badly injured. You need to go up and get him. She was and still is my rock, he says. Eighteen months of hard slog saw him back in the cockpit of a plane and qualified to fly again. Another two years of exhaustive testing and a mountain of paperwork saw Glenn started work with the RFDS in early May as one of six pilots based at Launceston. Now I am in a position where I get to provide the service instead of being a patient, he says. 3

4 Flying Doctor supports important research in Tasmania RFDS Tasmania is partnering with Menzies Research Institute Tasmania to support important research to improve health outcomes of people in the state s regional areas. The Menzies ASPREE: Healthy Ageing Biobank Study aims to determine whether the potential benefits of aspirin outweigh the risks for people over age 65. RFDS Tasmania will fund the employment of a highly skilled research assistant, based in Burnie. The assistant will travel the state in the new Menzies BioBus to collect, process and store blood and other bio-specimens from participants. The Trek adventure water crossing on the way to Coolum. Another great Trek completed We are delighted to partner with Menzies. The ASPREE study will address important health aspects for people living in regional and remote Tasmanian communities. > Coolum, QLD The 2013 Outback Trek was completed in June with more than 100 cars arriving at Coolum. Organiser Bill Patrick said it was the first time in four years the event didn t face the challenge of heavy rain and flooded roads. RFDS Tasmania President Malcolm White said the role of the RFDS was to support a range of health-related services to benefit all Tasmanians. We are delighted to partner with Menzies, he said. The ASPREE study will address important health aspects for people living in regional and remote Tasmanian communities. The last three years saw a huge dislocation to the Trek route because of rain but it felt like we hit a purple patch this year, Bill said. We ve had a glowing response from all participants, with many saying it was the best Trek ever. Bill said a small number of participants suffered mechanical issues along the way that were, in the main, repaired by the mechanics in sweep vehicles that follow the Trek. Trekkers are a resourceful lot and most cars were able to rejoin the Trek by leapfrogging the route to catch up. Pledges and donations along the way were still being tallied. The Outback Trek has raised around $21 million since its inception in 1990 and last year raised in excess of $1.5 million an amount it hoped to match or even better this year. 4 Professor Mark Nelson, Menzies Research Institute & Malcolm White, RFDS Tas President.

5 Bridging the Outback dental gap TOOTH dentist Callum Addison (centre) with dental students Theodore Costa and Thong Vu. In the small NSW Outback community of Collarenebri, a trip to the dentist used to be governed entirely by whether you had access to a car. The nearest dental service at Walgett, about 80 km away, is operated by the local Indigenous health service. And there s a private dentist at Moree, 140 km to the east. But all that changed last year when The Outback Oral Treatment and Health (TOOTH) program began operating across western NSW. For Collarenebri resident and single parent of three Nigel Clarke, 49, TOOTH is now an essential part of his life. He and his children, aged seven, eight and 12, have been regular users since it began in early I ve been three times over the past year, Nigel said. They did a filling last time and I had to come back and get some more work done. I chipped a tooth. My kids also use this service. We re very lucky to have it. Walgett is the nearest alternative but without access to a car we can t get there. Without this service me and the kids would be stuck. Oral disease continues to be one of the most widespread yet preventable health problems in Australia. TOOTH has brought much needed regular dental services and oral health education to complement those already on the ground across remote NSW. More than 1,600 rural residents have now utilised the program. Many had previously not seen a dentist in years. Throughout the 256 clinics held in its first year, TOOTH has seen a growing number of new patients, and an increase in diagnostic and preventative services. This is proof of TOOTH s commitment to not just treating oral disease but preventing it from occurring. But there is more work to do. RFDS TOOTH Dentist Dr Callum Addison, based in Dubbo, said: Most Australians living in cities would be unaware of the poor dental standards in Outback Australia. You can see the statistics but until you see it first hand it doesn t really hit home. The TOOTH program was launched by the Royal Flying Doctor Service South East Section (RFDS SE), and the Investec and Gonski foundations, at a cost of $2.5 million over three years. Single parent Nigel Clarke visits the TOOTH clinic in Collarenebri. In its first 12 months TOOTH operated 256 fly in clinics at Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri, Goodooga and Bourke. My kids also use this service. We re very lucky to have it. Walgett is the nearest alternative but without access to a car we can t get there. Without this service me and the kids would be stuck. 5

6 Captain Jack Jenkins with a De Havilland DHA3 Drover. Come and say hello in October The Royal Flying Doctor Service Broken Hill Base and Visitors Centre looks forward to welcoming the public, pilots and plane enthusiasts from across Australia in October. The RFDS Base will be open on Saturday October 19 to the public as part of the Aero Club of Broken Hill s 75th birthday celebrations, and to help mark our 85th anniversary. This will be a great opportunity to meet our pilots, doctors, flight nurses and other staff and have a look behind the scenes at RFDS operations. Meanwhile, there is a great weekend of activities planned by the Aero Club, including a display of modern and vintage aircraft. This will include a vintage Drover, one of the first aircraft used by the Flying Doctor Service. For Aero Club activities over the weekend, including if you re planning to arrive in Broken Hill by your own plane, fly-in registrations are essential. For further details please contact the club s Bruce Nevill on or Or you can download fly-in registration forms from event-calendar/. 6 Rotary s long link with RFDS The Dubbo RFDS Ball was held in May and it was a great success. Just over $69,000 was donated on the night ($20,000 proceeds from the ball, $43,000 raised from the Destination Outback trip and $6,175 from the Western Districts Royal Easter Show display). Event director Peter Scott says next year s Destination Outback will be the thirteenth. The 400 guests were entertained by Qantas Capt. Richard de Crespigny who regaled the crowd with a step by step recount of his A380 emergency landing out of Singapore. Anyone wanting details of next year s Destination Outback can ring Peter on The Rotary Club of Dubbo South has been supporting the RFDS for almost a quarter of a century and over that time has raised more than $900,000 for us. We re on a mission to raise a million dollars for the RFDS, Peter said. Peter said he remembered the day his club wrote its first cheque to the RFDS, for $10,000. We rendezvoused with an RFDS doctor at an Outback clinic and wrote the cheque on the wing of an RFDS plane, Peter said. We rendezvoused with an RFDS doctor at an Outback clinic and wrote the cheque on the wing of an RFDS plane.

7 Bob s heart-stopping trip to Menindee Lake Working as a bus driver, Bob Duke thought he was in robust good health. His job meant he had a medical examination every 12 months. While camping out at Menindee Lake earlier this year, however, he collapsed. Everything was normal, Bob, 67, recalled. I went out to the car to change-over the camping fridge and everything just drained out of me. It came out of the blue. Bob and his wife Dorothy, from Narromine, 40 km west of Dubbo, had been caravanning in the Outback for two months. But their trip came to an abrupt halt at Menindee. Over the next four days, his heart would stop six times. Doctor Service flight for Royal Adelaide Hospital. Dorothy was unable to go on the plane but through a mutual friend, had met long-term RFDS Broken Hill Visitors Centre tour guide Reta Elliott. Reta has worked with the RFDS for 25 years. Reta s husband, Ron, drove Dorothy to Adelaide and the Dukes stored their caravan at the Elliott s Broken Hill home while Bob was recovering. Meanwhile, medical staff at the Royal Adelaide Hospital had inserted a pacemaker into Bob. The next morning I was feeling fine, Bob recalled. But I didn t realize what had happened. The doctors had done an ultrasound and told me it was my heart stopping. It happened six times altogether. Bob (left) with Reta and Ron. Everything was normal. I went out to the car to change-over the camping fridge and everything just drained out of me. It came out of the blue. Bob and Dorothy. Fellow campers rushed him to the small Menindee Clinic. An ambulance from Broken Hill was dispatched and on the way to Broken Hill Base Hospital he continued to pass in and out of consciousness. Initial investigations started in Broken Hill before it was found that the specialist cardiac services Bob required were in Adelaide, 500km away. Bob was then assessed by RFDS medical officer Dr Bill Hines and flight nurse Tracey King prior to being transferred onto a Royal Flying It was all a bit of shock. The couple has since returned to Broken Hill to collect their car and caravan and while there called into the Visitors Centre and made some purchases. The RFDS has always been a great service, Bob said. What happened to us, how they helped us, just reinforces that. Probably no amount of donations is enough. Your legacy a lasting difference The Reverend John Flynn dedicated his life to bringing healthcare and a feeling of safety to those facing isolation and danger in the Australian Outback. His efforts led to the RFDS, however, it was a generous bequest from philanthropist Hugh McKay that got things up and running. McKay s gift enabled Flynn s vision to become a reality. If you would like details of how to remember the RFDS in your Will, contact our donor care team on (02)

8 It s pudding time again Pudding preparation. The list of ingredients is enough to make the eyes boggle and the tummy rumble. And it s one of the best kept secrets in cooking. Nobody knows the ingredients for the Broken Hill Royal Flying Doctors Service Women s Auxiliary Christmas puddings except the women who have been making them for more than 60 years. But imagine this if you can: more than 1,240 kg of plain flour and sugar, as well as butter, margarine, currents, raisins and sultanas, citrus peel and almonds. And then there s brandy, lots of brandy. Mix all that up, throw in a couple of extra secret ingredients plus a dash of love and history. And presto! You will have 2,000 Broken Hill Royal Flying Doctors Service Women s Auxiliary Christmas puddings. It s that time of year again. Last year the sale of puddings raised more than $40,000. And they always sell-out quickly. You can obtain an order form by ringing South East Section office in Sydney (02) , Broken Hill on or Auxiliary President Margaret Symes on The RFDS provides the finest care to more than 270,000 people each year. That s one person every two minutes. and travelling throughout rural and remote Australia. health care and 24-hour emergency service to those living, working flyingdoctor.org.au The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is a not-for-profit organisation that has been proudly serving Australians since Today, the RFDS is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world, delivering extensive primary The furthest corner. The finest care. July August September October November December January February March April May June Christmas cheer Christmas may seem a way off but now s the time to order your gifts, cards and calendars from the RFDS. Orders can be placed through the Christmas catalogue or online at www. flyingdoctor.org.au/shop. If you don t have a copy of this year s catalogue and you would like one, please call the Marketing Office in Sydney on Calendar To help us streamline processing please paper clip your donation to this form here and return to: RFDS GPO Box 3537 Sydney NSW All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Thank you for your support. Yes, I want to help the Flying Doctor. I want to join the RFDS in membership Flying Doctor Society $130 annually $12 monthly Pilot Wing $250 annually $22 monthly Custodian $750 annually $66 monthly Friend $2,000 annually (minimum of five years) Please send me information on how I can support the RFDS regularly Please send me information about leaving a gift in my Will to the RFDS and joining the John Flynn Legion OR I would like to make a donation to help the Flying Doctor of $25 $50 $100 Other $ My cheque/money order payable to the RFDS is enclosed Please send me information about direct debit Please charge my credit card $ MasterCard Visa Amex Expiry / Signature Title First name Surname Address Postcode Phone Mobile Please be assured that your details remain strictly confidential. DOB (optional) / / N313 Produced by the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (South Eastern Section) ABN Marketing Office: Level 9, 110 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 3537 Sydney NSW 2001 Tel Fax

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