For Perth resident Michael Murphy, who was holidaying in Lancelin with his family, a beach fishing expedition quickly became a day he would never forget. Just a few hours later he would be airlifted to Perth for emergency medical treatment.
Michael and his family were headed to the beach when they encountered a bogged vehicle. After providing their assistance, Michael started to experience severe chest pains. His family took him to Silver Chain’s Lancelin Health Centre and not long after, Silver Chain’s registered nurse linked up with the Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS).
ETS is a WA Country Health Service initiative that enables Silver Chain’s remote nurses in Lancelin to access highly trained, emergency medicine specialists based in Perth, using video conferencing equipment.
Silver Chain Clinical Nurse Manager, Primary Health, Rosie Clarke, said when Michael presented at the Lancelin Health Centre, he had significant chest pain – it was clearly an emergency situation.
“Instead of local staff coordinating his transfer via ambulance to the nearest Perth hospital – 100km away – the nurse activated the ETS and was able to initiate emergency treatment under the guidance of an ETS doctor,” Rosie explained.
Whilst the nurse continued the treatment plan on the ground, the ETS doctor arranged for Michael to be airlifted by helicopter from Lancelin to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and fast tracked straight to the cardiac catheter laboratory.
“I was trying to stay calm so I didn’t panic but I really didn’t know what was happening. It was a scary situation. The nurse on the ground was absolutely marvellous as was the ETS doctor based in Perth,” Michael said.
“After heart surgery in Perth, I’m now on the road to recovery. If it wasn’t for ETS, everything could be very different though. I’m sure I would have made it to hospital but the damage to my heart could have been much greater.”
The Emergency Telehealth Service is delivered by the WA Country Health Service and funded by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions half a billion dollar Southern Inland Health Initiative.