RACQ Life Flight helicopter.
RACQ Life Flight helicopter. Alistair Brightman

Hervey Bay grandmother thanks her medical lifesavers

HERVEY Bay's Christine Baker didn't expect her life to change on a seemingly normal Saturday morning.

It started with her feeling faint which prompted quick-thinking action from her 16-year old grandson who made the 000 call and ended with a life-and-death airlift to Brisbane.

"After not feeling well for a couple of days, I remember saying to my husband John - 'I've never felt so funny' - I think I'm going to faint,” Christine said.

The events that followed were all very hazy for Christine, as her family and emergency services sprang into action to save her life.

After grandson Connor called 000 Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics arrived at the house within minutes.

The paramedics administered initial treatment and rushed Christine to Hervey Bay Hospital, where doctors performed CT scans to try and find the reason for Christine's rapidly declining condition.

Hours Christine was diagnosed with a leaking aorta, a complicated and life-threatening medical condition.

The Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue was called to airlift the critically ill patient to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

"I remember the doctors speaking to each other urgently as they wheeled me out on the trolley at Hervey Bay Hospital,” Christine said.

"I could hear the helicopter arriving and I knew something must be seriously wrong with me since they'd decided to take me to Brisbane.”

When the Hervey Bay Hospital medical team reached the helipad Christine was told she may not survive the flight due to the vibrations.

"He also warned me that if anything happens during the flight, we won't be able to resuscitate you,” Christine said.

"The doctor sat in the back of the helicopter with me, and although I couldn't hear much over the noise of the rotor blades, I remember he kept giving me a thumbs-up to let me know everything was okay - and I kept doing it back to him too.

As soon as the aeromedical team landed at RBWH, Christine was immediately taken into the operating theatre.

Christine remained in the hospital's intensive care unit for two weeks following her emergency surgery, with another week on a general ward before she was discharged.

Despite having to now return to the hospital every six weeks for check-ups, Christine is thankful to have survived the ordeal in November 2016.

"I really can't speak highly enough of the medical teams that helped save my life that day,” she said.  

"I'm so thankful and lucky to have survived.”

LifeFlight is a community-based charity that relies on donations from the public and community support.

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