CareFlight’s aeromedical integration puts patients first.

Simon Walker is a family man. He has a wife Sally and four children, Mitchell, Maddison, Imogen and Darcy and the Walker family live just outside Darwin in the Northern Territory. It was an ordinary workday when Sally received a call no one expects and every family dreads. Simon had been in a serious car accident and CareFlight’s Top End Rescue Helicopter had been tasked.

According to Simon, he had driven around a bend and seen floodwaters across the road. Concerned the trailer he was towing wasn’t straight, he tried to brake, but the car slid on the dirt. He lost control, the car flipped, and Simon was pinned against a tree. He was in a lot of pain and he couldn’t feel his legs.

Fortunately for Simon another car drove past and called for help. When the CareFlight Top End Rescue Helicopter landed, the terrain Simon was navigating was so difficult the crew had to make a bridge over the flood water to reach Simon. They immediately suspected spinal and head injuries It took more than 40 minutes to stabilise Simon before they could transfer him to the helicopter for the flight to Royal Darwin Hospital.

The flight to Darwin was uneventful but it was clear that Darwin was not to be Simon’s destination, so the clinical team liaised with doctors in Adelaide and located a bed in a spinal unit prepared to take him. The team loaded Simon onto one of our air ambulance jets for the flight to Adelaide and they departed Darwin. They set off from Darwin but when they landed at Alice Springs to refuel the flight plans needed to change. Bad weather in Adelaide meant the team had to divert to Sydney and find an alternative hospital. CareFlight’s flight nurse Megan coordinated with hospitals across Australia to secure a place for Simon in Sydney.

About 20 minutes into the flight, Simon started having a major seizure. The clinical team of doctor and nurse requested the help of the pilot to assist them, leaving the co-pilot to fly the jet while they stabilised Simon. According to flight nurse Megan, the three of them managed to achieve what would normally involve six specialists in an emergency department of a hospital.

Simon was admitted into a spinal unit in Sydney where he underwent surgery and spent many months having physical therapy and learning how to walk and move again. Simon is now back at home with his family, and although still bears many scars from his injuries, he is thankful for CareFlight’s quick response and integrated service that could take him exactly where he needed to be.