The community of Condobolin, population approximately 3500, is 470km inland from Sydney. The township has long been in need of better emergency facilities, specifically a helipad for transferring patients to major hospitals in the case of emergencies. At one time there was a helipad in Condobolin but the land was repossessed for another purpose and no alternative facility was created.
A young man’s accident with a lawnmower, in which his fingers were severed, was the traumatic event which triggered the local Plymouth Brethren Community to act towards getting the helipad in the town.
It was a typical Saturday afternoon of gardening for the family when misfortune struck their eldest son. What followed was a 12-hour ordeal to reach a Sydney hospital that could treat him.
When the accident occurred at 1pm, an ambulance was called immediately. In an urban area he would have been delivered straight to a hospital that could treat him, but in Condobolin this was not possible.
The ambulance’s response was fast and the young man was taken straight to the Condobolin Hospital. Unfortunately, the ambulance was also on call at the time for the local picnic races and couldn’t transfer him to the nearest regional hospital, a two-hour drive away.
Eventually an ambulance came from Forbes, 100km away, but it was only a patient transfer vehicle and couldn’t administer pain relief during the journey to Forbes. The young man was in great discomfort and still a long way from receiving treatment.
More than eight hours after the accident, he reached Orange Base Hospital but there was still another wait for him to be assessed and transferred by air ambulance to a Sydney hospital arriving at 1am the following morning, 12 hours later.
The local Plymouth Brethren Christian Community recognised the urgent need for a helipad in Condobolin which would help many people receive medical relief faster. So, with the help of the Rapid Relief Team (RRT), they donated $10,000 toward the Condobolin Helipad Project.
RRT spokesperson Mr Peter Wiggins said the Rapid Relief Team contributed $3000 towards the project and the wider Brethren community and businesses rose to the challenge of fundraising.
“We are hopeful the project will now go forward and we’re grateful we were able to contribute to help people when they are at their most vulnerable,” Mr Wiggins said.
In March 2015 the Condobolin United Hospital Auxiliary met with members of the Brethren Christian Community and RRT representatives to receive the money raised.
Funds now total $45,000 and the helipad’s Development Application is being prepared.