Gordon Boyd was undergoing an operation in Rotorua Hospital when complications arose during the procedure.
An urgent call went out to the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter to fly Gordon to Auckland Hospital for immediate urgent specialised surgery.
“There were fluid bags everywhere,” said Gordon. “It would have been an awful trip up to Auckland in an ambulance. It would have taken a long time – possibly too long.”
“I don’t know much about the medical side of things but I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for the rescue helicopter.”
Gordon was in Auckland Hospital for a fortnight with a spinal cord injury and a battery was inserted in his stomach to block out all the nerve receptors in his brain to manage the chronic pain. Today he has a spinal stimulator, which reduces the pain by about 50%. “Back then it was new technology,“ Gordon explains.
“Chronic pain is no fun for anyone and you can’t function properly. I have to manage pain all the time and it is just one of those ongoing things that we live with. You sure learn a lot about how the body works.”
Gordon has had three battery replacements since the spinal stimulator was inserted, but advanced technology now enables him to charge it himself each fortnight. “The feeling is a bit like hanging onto an electric fence – that’s what I get every three seconds all the time and is the closest I can come to explaining the sensation.”
“The helicopter crew do an amazing job. They are on call 24/7 – that’s the thing, you know. The helicopter is great for regional areas. The journey from a regional hospital to a large city hospital by road would be too much. You could lose the patient. They talk about that golden hour and that was my hour. The medical team and crew on board were absolutely outstanding.”