It made Dr Shane Trevithick and pilot John Hoad’s day to be reunited with two-year-old Ashley at the CareFlight base. Eighteen months earlier they fought desperately to bring her back from the brink of death when she very nearly drowned in the bath.

Ashley’s mother Sandra left the bathroom briefly to fetch some towels to dry Ashley and her older brother. In those few seconds, Ashley slipped under the water. On Sandra’s return, Ashley was blue.

When CareFlight arrived Ashley had no pulse and was not breathing. It was a desperate struggle for survival. Dr Trevithick and paramedic Annemarie Delahunty drilled into Ashley’s leg bone to insert a drip, then intubated and ventilated her. They managed to resuscitate her, restoring her heart rhythm.

Ashley was flown by pilot John Hoad, accompanied by the critical care team, directly to Westmead Children’s Hospital. There a trauma team was waiting for her.

The little girl was kept in an induced coma for a week while specialists waited for the swelling in her brain to subside. She woke up on her first birthday.

Ashley has made a miraculous recovery and shows no signs of residual damage. Dr Trevithick is delighted with the outcome, admitting that this was one of the most challenging resuscitations of his career.

Equally delighted is John, CareFlight’s inaugural pilot who recently celebrated 25 years of service to CareFlight and the community.