Imagine your 16-year-old son suffers a head injury in a rugby league game, you’re in regional Queensland, more than 550km from the nearest specialist centre in Brisbane, and the bleeding and pressure building on his brain is reaching critical levels.
In regional setting, the person best positioned to save your child is invariably a rural doctor; medical retrievals and transfers can’t always arrive with the timeliness critical for good outcomes in a head trauma case and rural doctors now want to see more done about it.
The Rural Doctors Association of Queensland (RDAQ) and their not-for-profit arm the RADQ Foundation joined forces with Rotary Edge, a satellite club of Toowoomba Rotary South Club and The Great White Campaign to raise awareness and add their weight to a push for better health services in rural areas.
RDAQ Foundation Chairman Adam Coltzau says his organization was committed to exploring how earlier access to necessary trauma care could be provided right across rural Queensland.
Dr Coltzau says the only Queensland neurological centres are in Townsville, the Gold Coast and Brisbane, meaning vast areas over the Great Dividing Range are often, in the case of head trauma, hours from specialist help.
“Head trauma accounts for half the deaths in trauma cases and 70 per cent of the fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Early management of severe trauma leads to better outcomes, this is particularly so for head injuries.”
The RDAQ are now calling for advanced skills training and the provision of specialist equipment for rural doctors, so in the event of a head trauma they can start treatment, under the guidance of a specialist via video link or phone.
Dr Coltzau says the RDAQ Foundation is calling for is advanced skills training, the equipment and the support for is rural doctors, generalists surgeons and emergency doctors, who are working in regional and remote Queensland.
“It would also be great if there was a neurosurgeon, who understood the challenges of distance in rural areas available to support, consult and guide doctors through these emergencies.”
“We also need our rural and regional communities to support their doctors having a go and trying to save precious lives in what are very difficult circumstances.”
Caption: Joint forces: Rural Doctors Association of Australia vice president John Hall, with Brendon Smith, whose son Braydon’s death was the motivation for The Great White Campaign and RDAQ Foundation director Michael Rice.