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29 March, 2021


RACQ CQ Rescue was kept busy this past weekend as they flew almost 2500km to transer seriously ill patients to nearby hospitals.

By Andrew Sorensen

Some of the cases involved three snake bites and a serious anaphylactic reaction to a wasp sting.

Since Friday, the Mackay-based rescue helicopter has been tasked by Queensland Health to transfer seven patients from rural hospitals and properties to urgent medical care in Mackay and Townsville.

RACQ CQ Rescue has flown more than 1100km on missions totalling 15 hours to transfer two patients from Bowen and one from Moranbah with three separate snake bites and another person from Proserpine with a life-threatening reaction to a wasp sting.

Other missions over the weekend included a cardiac patient from Proserpine and a person with a serious respiratory illness being airlifted from a cattle property near Mt Coolon to Mackay on Sunday.

RACQ CQ Rescue is this morning transferring a critically ill Mackay patient to Townsville hospital.

RACQ CQ Rescue air crewman Quinton Rethus said the recent muggy weather and rain meant highly venomous and slimy reptiles were on the move, so it was vital residents took precautions and were aware of the real danger of snakes.

One person this weekend had been bitten trying to pick up a reptile near his front door.

Stopping the lymphatic spread of the venom from a snake bite was of paramount importance and he urged anyone administering first aid to a snake bite victim to never wash the area, try to suck the venom out or apply a tourniquet.

“Always bandage the limb firmly, splint it if possible, immobilise the patient and seek medical attention immediately,” Mr Rethus said.

Identification of the snake was often possible at hospital by the venom present at the bite site.

A brown snake could potentially kill in as little as 30 minutes, so with any suspected snake bite seek medical attention urgently.

“Every snake bite should be managed as a medical emergency. Correct first aid could savea snake victim’s life.”

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