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Behind the scenes with Dr Rob.

Every mission, every day, here for you

Behind the scenes with Dr Rob.

Thank you! As a Doctor on board the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, I see first-hand the incredible impact your support makes.

We are grateful for the generous support we receive from people like you throughout the community.

Over the past two years, I have witnessed the amazing resilience of our Northern NSW communities as they faced drought, bushfires, the COVID pandemic and most recently, tragic flooding.

Through these difficult times, it has been humbling to be able to provide some certainty to communities who have been doing it tough right across our flight area.

In the first 4 months of 2021 across our three bases at Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore we have flown well over 500 missions.

‘It’s hard to imagine a person that hasn’t been touched by the IM·体育注册反水娱乐网址.

The outcome of our patients is our primary goal. We take their best chance of survival to them and without this their outcomes would be significantly different…’

In recent years drought has ravaged much of regional Northern NSW
In recent years drought has ravaged much of regional Northern NSW

Most recently we have flown missions into the flood zones of the Mid North Coast, with patients cut off by floodwaters. I’d like to share just three of these stories with you.

At a remote property in the Nambucca Valley, an elderly man slipped in his garage fracturing his hip. He dragged himself inside the house and alerted emergency services however due to the severe weather and flooding in the area, he was unable to be reached by road. In an initial attempt early in the day, the helicopter was unable to reach the patient due to heavy rain, low cloud and lightning. Later in the day, identifying a brief break in the weather, the Helicopter Critical Care Medical Team were able to reach the property, where they treated and stabilised the man before airlifting him to Lismore Base Hospital.

Recent widespread flooding on the NSW Mid North Coast.
Recent widespread flooding on the NSW Mid North Coast.
Crew fly over Maclean in the height of the 2019 bush fires.
Crew fly over Maclean in the height of the 2019 bush fires.

In another fall incident, crews were tasked to Ellenborough west of Wauchope, where due to the severe weather, the patient was unable to be reached by road, cut off in both directions by flood waters. The Helicopter Medical Team treated and stabilised an elderly female for possible fractures and airlifted her to Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital.

During more extreme weather, crews were tasked to Harrington, north east of Taree, where a young boy was suffering severe asthma. With rising floodwaters, the boy needed to be evacuated. Thankfully we were able to reach the isolated property and treat the young boy before he was airlifted to Williamtown Airport. The severe weather prevented our Team from being able to land at John Hunter Hospital so we rendezvoused with a road ambulance at Williamtown for the final leg of his rescue.

‘Thanks to your support, I have everything I need on-board the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to stabilise and treat our patients.

We can give an anaesthetic, provide pain relief, give a blood transfusion, we can assist someone’s breathing or support their heart. We can even re-start their heart. All this happens in major hospitals every day, the difference is we do it in the air…’

While natural disasters and medical emergencies can occur without notice, the most common response we receive from patients is “I never thought I’d need the Rescue Helicopter”.   As a charity, the vital delivery of this aeromedical response is only made possible through the generosity of people like you who make a donation knowing you may never need the Rescue Helicopter!

Just as our communities have faced challenges, as an organisation, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter’s annual fundraising challenge is to raise over $12M to keep its three bases in Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore ready to respond 24-7 to those in need.

Should you feel able to make a tax deductible financial gift before 30 June, we would like to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation in advance on behalf of the next patient we fly, who will benefit from your passion for the IM·体育注册反水娱乐网址.

‘Every patient is important to us and every mission we fly makes me feel proud to be part of a wonderful Service. Proud to be on board the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and be part of a team that looks after our community…’

Thank you for your support and please stay safe .

Yours sincerely,


Dr Rob Bartolacci
NSW Health Doctor
Helicopter Critical Care Medical Team

PS. Your gift has the power to save lives.
Please consider making a donation today and be part of every mission we fly.

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