Seasoned hiker and Te Aroha GP, Hayley felt her friends were going a bit over the top when they insisted she pack spare, warm clothes for a short one-hour hike up Mt Te Aroha. “I’ve done plenty of tracks in the Te Aroha area and usually only take what I’m wearing,” confessed Hayley. “Reluctantly I packed a bag that I knew I wouldn’t need and would carry for no reason.”
They set off on their hike, and just ten minutes from the top of the track Hayley stepped in mud, twisting her ankle. With her doctor’s eye she knew immediately that her ankle was fractured, and could see from its unnatural position that it was likely to require surgery.
Her friends phoned for help, and the local fire service trekked the 50-minute hike to Hayley’s location. “It was great to be surrounded by friendly, well known faces from my community,” she says.
It was apparent that carrying Hayley out was not practical, and the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was dispatched. Hayley felt somewhat dubious when told she would have to be winched up and out of the bush. “Obviously it’s a time when you feel incredibly vulnerable,” she says, “but when the helicopter arrived the team took control in an efficient manner, making sure my pain was under control, checking the winch points and giving me clear instructions.”
Feeling reassured and well prepared, Hayley was winched from the ground. “The pilot was amazing. I never saw him, but how they hover dead still while you are winched up so close to a mountainside I will never know!” she states with admiration.
Hayley, wrapped snug in the warm clothes her friends had insisted she bring, was soon gratefully flying onwards to Waikato Hospital for treatment. “Many times I have thanked my friends for making me go so well prepared, the fire service for their first response and the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter for their efficient and excellent care that day.”