LifeFlight crews and doctors have given a record number of people a second chance at life, performing almost 5,500 lifesaving missions in the past 12 months.
The end of the financial year marked the charity’s busiest in its 37-year history, with its doctors, community rescue helicopters and Air Ambulance jets performing a record 5,452 missions.
This brings the service's total number of patients helped to more than 50,000 since its very first airlift in 1981.
Over the 2017-2018 financial year the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters completed 1,819 community-based missions throughout Queensland.
574 of those were completed by the Toowoomba aeromedical crew, costing around $7.1 million - at no cost to patients.
The top five mission types for the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter, according to injury and illness were: Motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents (on and off road, quad bike and pedestrian) (60), cardiac conditions (58), infection / serious illness (52), respiratory conditions (39) and abdominal conditions (35).
One of those missions was the airlift of 24 year old Shelley Lindbeck, who suffered severe injuries when she lost control of her motorbike on 8th October, 2017 - the same day as her cousin's birthday.
An Intensive Care Unit nurse, Shelley went from medical professional to patient.
"As both a nurse and now as a past patient I think the work that RACQ LifeFlight does is extremely important. Without them it would be extremely hard for people to get the medical attention that they need in a timely manner," she says.
Shelley has overcome her fears and is back riding motorbikes, plans to return to university and has a new appreciation for life, after being saved from the roadside by RACQ LifeFlight.
She says, "These guys can be the difference between life and death."
With every lifesaving helicopter mission costing on average $12,500, LifeFlight continues to rely on the support of sponsors and partners - including naming rights sponsor RACQ – along with the donations and support of everyday Queenslanders around the state.
“The work of the dedicated helicopter rescue crews can literally mean the difference between life and death and we congratulate RACQ LifeFlight Rescue on its record year,” said RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross.
"Both of our organisations are about helping Queenslanders, and RACQ is very proud to be have been the naming rights sponsor of LifeFlight's Rescue helicopters for the last 25 years and we'll continue to do so."
RACQ LifeFlight Chief Operations Officer Brian Guthrie said LifeFlight is proud to continue helping so many in the community by providing a world class aeromedical service.
“Old, young, from the outback or the suburbs; our dedicated crews are focussed on giving everyone in Queensland equal access to emergency medical care, regardless of location.”
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