Medics to the rescue


THE right doctors and nurses were in the right place at the right time to save a woman’s life during the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
Event organisers were blown away during a medical situation on day two, to discover they had three cardiologists, an ICU intensivist, an Emergency Department doctor, two RFDS doctors, a Cooktown GP and another GP taking part.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said it appeared one of the participants had a previously undiagnosed medical condition, which meant she needed urgent intervention.
“But watching all those doctors and nurses and the team from First Response Australia’s Paramedical Service, was incredible to realise we had that calibre of medical expertise in such a small place as Lakeland that’s probably never seen so many experts in one place,” Ms Duncombe said.
 The patient has been receiving medical care with possible further treatment required but due to patient confidentiality we cannot reveal any other information.
Cairns Hospital ICU intensivist Dr Sean McManus was participating in the event but called on his years of medical experience to assist the patient. Dr McManus said he was extremely grateful to the other doctors, nurses and First Response Australia’s Paramedic for the expertise and equipment they provided.
"We have been fortunate to have First Response Australia provide to the Cardiac Challenge, for many years, a fully equipped ambulance, emergency medications and paramedic staff.  Along with the medical professionals engaged in the event, this service has provided the ability to deal with the variety of complex situations that may arise in these remote and difficult environments," Ms Duncombe said.
“That woman is really very lucky – what happened to her could have happened on a bike ride on her own, or lying in bed asleep but she was very lucky to be in such a place where there were so many people available to help. “We really set up a field hospital in the back of that First Response Australia’s ambulance and it was just a spontaneous formation of a team that doesn’t normally work together, but did so, and in an incredibly supportive way. I’m looking forward to catching up with the patient – I believe she has a 90 per cent chance of a full recovery. The Cardiac Challenge is an incredible event and it’s a tribute to the organisational skills of the co-ordinators that this woman received the high level of care that she did,” Dr McManus said.
Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer said on behalf of the three cardiologists who participated, they were both amazed and grateful to have such an array of emergency doctors present. “I was incredibly impressed, and honestly feel that my family is lucky to be living in FNQ,” Dr Starmer said.
The State Emergency Service also was involved in clearing the Lakeland airstrip of kangaroos so the RFDS plane could land.

Fundraising for this year's event is sitting at $291,000.

Photo: Nurse Angie Sutcliffe, ICU intensivisit Dr Sean McManus and First Response Australia managing director Charlie Makray.

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