The Fraser Coast Patient Transfer committee and supporters take a moment to savour the finished result of years of hard, voluntary work.
The Fraser Coast Patient Transfer committee and supporters take a moment to savour the finished result of years of hard, voluntary work.

A hearty effort for patients

DENIS Dack could laugh loudly yesterday about the heart attack that nearly took his life in 2006.

The opening of a patient transfer facility at Hervey Bay airport brought to a close a compelling chapter of his life story which started on an ambulance stretcher on the edge of the airport runway.

Armed with umbrella and defibrillator, ambo Graeme Cooper battled to keep Denis alive and dry on that windswept, bitter rainy July night.

A delighted Graeme laughed with Denis at yesterday’s opening of the $315,000 transfer facility that will be operated by ambos from one end and by aircraft crews from the other.

About five patients a day are flown in or out of Hervey Bay airport. The new building will provide a suitable environment for patients waiting either for a plane to land or an ambulance to arrive.

It will also allow friends and family to stay by the sides of their loved ones until just before departure.

The need for the facility became painfully clear to Denis three-and-a-half years ago and as soon as his health allowed him, he set about making it a reality.

“While the fundraising for the building may have concluded, we’re anticipating the fundraising will continue for the ambos because they need it and deserve it,” he said yesterday.

Two computers worth about $7000, rechargeable torches and a defibrillator are now on the shopping list as the Fraser Coast Patient Transfer Facility Committee aims to fit the station with top grade medical equipment.

“This is a great little add-on for Hervey Bay,” said Derek Hegh, acting officer-in-charge at Hervey Bay ambulance service.

“Patients can wait comfortably on a hospital bed in a family friendly area.

“It will all be less rushed and patients won’t be sitting out on the tarmac.

“It’s a community building that belongs to Hervey Bay.”

The committee raised $57,000 from all corners of the community, including a $6000 furniture donation from the Pialba Masonic Lodge.

Hervey Bay RSL contributed $80,000 while the Fraser Coast council budgeted to hand over $193,000.

Mayor Mick Kruger added $250 yesterday when he set the ambulance equipment fundraising drive on its way.

“When I heard the committee was anxious to get this open, I liaised with the manager in charge,” he said.

“She responded and had it all organised within a week. The certification came through this morning.”



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