Not every doctor has to get a horse out of the way before they can see a patient.
Then again, Sally Edmonds is not your average doctor.
Sally is a member of the medical team of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Western Australia (RFDS (WA)). Horses on the runway are one of the myriad of challenges she faces in her day-to-day practice.
The RFDS (WA) is the world’s most far-flung medical service, with its teams of pilots, doctors and nurses transporting patients from every corner of this vast state to hospitals in Perth and other urban centres.
Sally was dealing with a road accident in the Pilbara, a remote region in the north-west of Australia and is the country’s mining hub, that had left a mother and daughter seriously injured.
“We needed to fly out to a station [an Australian farm] that was near to the scene of the accident. But before we could land and treat the patients the pilot had to check the runway first and clear the horses,” recalls Sally, who has been with the RFDS for more than two decades.
“It was one of the biggest challenges of my career. It was hot and humid (around 45 degrees) and we had to work quickly to get out before nightfall, as the landing strip had no lighting,” says Sally.