OPINION: The kindness of strangers (and friends)


DEAR News Of The Area,

MY brother-in-law was taken ill on the beach on Saturday when he was out walking.

Quite by chance one of the women on the beach nearby came to his assistance and told him she was a Trauma Nurse at Macksville Hospital.

She called an ambulance as he was too unwell and had collapsed.

She gave them very explicit instructions – even with GPS Coordinates so that an ambulance could hopefully come along the beach and pick him up.

This did not happen, there seemed to be a lot of confusion about how to get onto the beach – even though they were told that it was possible to drive on at Nambucca Surf Club and that directions there were also available on GPS.

Many phone calls went on and then a woman from the Urunga SES walked down from the Valla beach entrance and also got onto the phone because the message relayed from Sydney was inaccurate and said there was someone ill at Valla Beach where the flags were.

There are no flags at Valla beach.

In the meantime a doctor out walking came over and helped my brother-in-law, also getting on the phone for help.

In the end he contacted the President of the Nambucca Surf Club (also our neighbour) who managed to contact a couple of lifeguards at the Club who were doing some training and they hopped into their rescue vehicle and came straight round.

This all took about an hour – but at least they came and ferried him down to the ambulance which had finally arrived at the Surf Club.

Scary to think it could have been a life and death situation – luckily it all ended well and after being under observation at Macksville Hospital my brother in law was allowed to come home.

The bottom line is – 000 calls go through to Sydney and then have to be relayed to the area where they are required.
If the ambulance station responding to the call doesn’t know the area too well – then there are long delays.

Urunga is only 22kms from Nambucca but there was a lot of confusion because of a lack of local knowledge.

There appears to be a need for local control and local knowledge.

Many thanks to the Nurse and Doctor and local people helping out, we are so grateful to them.


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