In some parts of the remote world such as Central Australia, Africa and South America, conventional medicine simply doesn’t work. So how do you combat natural barriers and bring medicine and care to some of the most remote people in the world? In this article we take a look at an ‘ordinary’ day in a flying bush doctor’s life – a true example of how varied the medical industry really can be.
Much of remote medical work is carried out via planes and helicopters. Such is the nature of the type of work and the distances involved, as well as the speed required to get to accident scenes, that aircraft are often the only feasible mode of transport.
Depending on the shift pattern, mornings generally involve a check of the aircraft - a walk around and a stock check of all the medical equipment. As soon as the aircraft is ‘signed off,’ meaning that it is airworthy and fit to fly, a briefing will commence with all the team members on shift. Flying doctors may be called out up to twenty times a day, so it’s important for everyone to be kept aware of major events, accident blackspots or major landmarks. It’s also important to be sure of what the local areas look like from the air - most briefing rooms therefore have huge maps and aeronautical information on the wall.
Once, or sometimes even before, the briefings are complete, the first calls will go out for people in need of medical attention somewhere remote. The distances involved are huge. In some cases, for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia it can take between two and six hours to reach a destination so it’s important the right bases are chosen to enable aircraft to get there as soon as possible. Within the aircraft is a hugely diverse range of kit - normally two stretchers and up to three seats as well as all the medical supplies to keep patients alive.
Flying bush doctors are highly trained, but have to battle a huge variety of weather systems in some of the most remote parts of the world. As pilots as well as medical professionals, their duty of care is enormous and important decisions have to be made in order to keep everyone on board safe. Despite this, they often have cause to fly in all weathers which is why being a flying bush doctor is said to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
From mountain-side airstrips to dust roads, flying bush doctors land in all weathers at some very difficult locations. Often before they’ve departed one call or location they’re required to head to next as soon as possible which can continue throughout the day and night. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Being a doctor, and especially a flying doctor, in such remote locations calls for an element of level-headedness that most people can only aspire to. Everyone needs to stay calm at all times and always be ready for the unexpected. However, many flying doctors wouldn’t swap their life for anything else and the feeling of success after transporting thousands of patients a year from some of the most remote parts of the world isn’t to be underestimated.
See more from the Royal Flying Doctor here: @RoyalFlyingDoc
We may not be currently looking for Flying Bush Doctors but if becoming a Locum Doctor sounds appealing to you, get in touch with Cromwell Medical Staffing today on 03330 437 101 to discuss your options and our current locum doctor opportunities.
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