Lucky escape leads to gift


ONE man’s near-death experience at Cairns Hospital has led to the donation of a vital piece of equipment.
Rob Sattler spent nine days in the Intensive Care Unit at Cairns Hospital in 2017 and is now so grateful to have his life back, that he is actively fundraising for the department.
During his stay in hospital, Rob and wife Lucy decided they wanted to make a difference to the staff who had made such a difference in their lives.
They spoke with Lucy’s mother Terina Sylvester, a member of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity, who took their request for help to her fellow Rotarians.
“The Rotarians thought the i-Stat Analyzer was a very worthy purchase when they heard the machine would provide much faster results for very sick babies as the machine could be used at the bedside,” Ms Sylvester said.
“It would also mean less blood was needed for the test as the machine was especially for testing babies and infants.  Previously the ICU had to use a blood gas machine designed for adults, this meant the blood collection was an adult quantity, and the test couldn’t be conducted at the bedside, another problem that the new machine could remedy.”
The Rotarians decided to donate the full $9900 needed for the purchase, using funds that had been collected for The Dream Flight Trust – a special trust fund under the management of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity. The Trust holds funds specially allocated for children and the Rotarians thought the i-stat Analyser perfectly fitted the aims of the Trust.
Cairns Hospital ICU Nurse Unit Manager Trish Smith said the iSTAT was a valuable clinical tool that enables critical biochemistry of seriously ill children to be measured with minute amounts of blood.
“This is beneficial to both the child and the health care team as it results in reduced pain and discomfort for the child, and a smaller sample is needed to be obtained to get an accurate result.
The iSTAT also is used to accurately measure low levels of calcium, which is a requirement in providing advanced critical care dialytic therapy for adult and paediatric patients in the ICU. We are grateful to have members of our local community provide such a useful piece of equipment for the ICU,” Ms Smith said.
The donation was made via the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. CEO Tony Franz said it was rewarding to see the community recognising a need in local health care, and rallying together to make it happen. “We're seeing that more and more now, that people are recognising they can make a real difference to health outcomes in their community – in recognition of something they or a loved one have been through.”

Rob’s Story:
 Rob's normally a healthy 38-year-old local dad and business owner. In August 2017, he caught the flu, and by the middle of September he was in a coma.
 The flu weakened his immune system and allowed pneumonia to take hold. And because they are busy people who tend to 'soldier on', it turned into sepsis before they knew about it.
 Pneumonia didn't look like you'd expect it to. Rob had a light cough that wouldn't go away, and was pretty tired, but otherwise not much different to normal. In fact, he thought he was still just recovering from the nasty flu. Which is how everything got so out of hand.
Rob walked into Cairns Hospital on Saturday, September 16 at 9.30am. By 3pm, he was in an induced coma. He stayed in the coma on life support until the following Thursday, and all up spent 9 days in the ICU and 19 days in hospital.
 Without the care, experience and support of the team at Cairns ICU, Rob wouldn't be here. He was just about as sick as you can be, and survive. If he'd been 20 years older, or smoked or was overweight, he wouldn't be here. If his heart had failed, he wouldn't be here.
 Rob's now working to raise awareness for sepsis through his Instagram account, Rob's Hike Back To Life, and would like to raise funds to improve the conditions for patients and their loved ones in the ICU.

Photos: Below: Lyn Jensen, President of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity; Graham Reveleigh, Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity, and Trustee of the Dream Flight Trust; Terina Sylvester, member of Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity; Rob Sattler, previous patient of ICU and Lucy Sattler.

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