With this ring – an inspirational story of Prehospital trauma care from Australian outback
This is one of my favourite inspirational stories of trauma and survival in remote areas. It happened back in 2002 , on a remote cattle station in Queensland. A young woman, Gayle Shann, got her arm caught in a spinning bore shaft whilst fence building, suffering a traumatic amputation of that arm. Her husband and friend stopped the machine and carried her into their homestead and called for help via phone. EMS/ambulance/RFDS did not arrive for another two hours due to the distances involved. A RFDS aircraft and team were sent as well as a rescue helicopter with paramedic and intensive care doctor from the nearest hospital, Rockhampton.
Read the original interview transcript of the ABC Australian Story episode, entitled “With this Ring“
However one of the true heroes of that fateful day was a neighbour, retired nurse Robyn Newbury. If you read the account of her actions when she received the call for help, it is an excellent example of crisis resource management and leadership. She instantly realised she would be providing the majority of the immediate prehospital trauma care for the next two hours to an injured friend who was close to bleeding to death. What did she do? She took the RFDS medicine chest with her as well as a satellite phone to keep in contact with the EMS units on their way, in particular the RFDS doctor in the aircraft. She knew they were bringing life saving blood transfusion, yet she had to keep her friend Gayle alive till more help arrived. What did she do?
Hear her own words in this remarkable candid interview
Robyn Newbury recounts the prehospital trauma care she gave
When the Flying Doctor team arrived, the decision was made to RSI and secure airway and ventilation for transport, after blood transfusion was given. There was also a consideration that general anaesthesia was a more humane and compassionate method of controlling pain and awareness given the possibility that Gayle may not survive her injuries.
She made a prolonged recovery and went back to working on her farm with her husband
Their story was voted Best Australian Story of the 15 year history of the TV documentary series. I whole heartedly agree.