Flying Doctor continues to serve inlanders

Posted by barbara on February 2, 2012

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Having grown up with the crucial role played by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, it was an unexpected surprise on a 45 degree Celsius New Years Day to stumble across the Silver City RFDS base and associated exhibition. Especially when so much else in the city was closed for the holiday, including the high profile Line of Lode hilltop lookout.

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Broken Hill airport's old hanger now houses the RFDS planes based in the Silver City.

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Since 1928, generations of planes have serviced inland Australia, 'casting a mantle of comparative safety over an area exceeding a quarter of a million square miles,' as the Reverend John Flynn proudly reminded his supporters and backers.

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A moving interactive exhibition in the visitor centre exhibition takes you into the life of a young wife on a remote station whose husband has been crushed and is experiencing severe pain.

As the story unfolds, we listen to her conversation over the RFDS wireless and the latter's efforts to diagnose her husband's condition and its seriousness guided by a wall chart featuring numbered body parts.

It is hard to fathom just how isolated the so-called Inlanders must have felt when faced with medical emergencies in the days before the vastly improved roads and radio and phone technology.

No wonder it was widely regarded as no place for women preceding the start up of a reliable medical service.

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Each settlement was provided with a special medical kit free of charge, with the station families treating injured family members or workers with the medicines prescribed over the radio.

In the 21st century, an increasing number of Gray Nomads who have come a cropper are finding themselves grateful recipients of the free RFDS services and where necessary a fast flight to medical assistance.

 

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