Imagine yourself feeling uncharacteristically off-colour, wanting to see a doctor, but having to navigate social distance protocols and covid screening at the emergency centre.
This was Phil Bowyer’s experience when he almost collapsed at home after a shower.
Trying to find his equilibrium again, Phil went outside and sat down for a bit, but very soon he succumbed and asked his wife to drive him through to the doctor’s surgery in Waihi.
Covid protocols dictated they wait in the car while questions were asked and then Phil was speedily moved by staff in PPE gear, to a special room set up outside. With Covid ruled out, the doctor quickly ruled in a possible heart event.
There was an immediate transfer into the surgery where Phil was wired up and administered with pain killers, whilst activity gained momentum around him.
Phil’s doctor left the room momentarily to make a phone call, returning promptly, announcing: “There’ll be a helicopter here in 17 minutes.”
“I remember thinking, hmmm…that can’t be good,” said Phil, chuckling.
Meanwhile, Phil’s wife, Colleen, was still outside in the car observing protocols when she heard an ambulance siren. “I wonder if that’s for my husband,” she thought, and didn’t have to wait long to find out.
The ambulance loaded Phil in for the short trip to the sports field where the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was already waiting, flanked by the local fire brigade who had set up a temporary landing site.
“It was very scary,” admits Colleen. “What I was grateful for was the fact that I was invited to sit in the passenger seat of the ambulance while Phil was being stabilised. I was allowed to be involved and present and had a little tear in the eye as they put him in the helicopter.”
Colleen drove home to Waihi Beach to get essential items for Phil’s hospital stay before driving the hour and a half trip to Waikato Hospital where Phil’s four night stay helped find “a mechanical solution to an electrical problem.”
“The crew of the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter did a magnificent job and I thank them very much. I’d hate to be doing their job flying in to so many different situations. They’re wonderful people who do their job so compassionately, bringing comfort to the patient.”