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Appendicitis in flood zone prompts novel ride to hospital for young station girl

Kelly Butterworth, Friday February 8, 2019 - 06:27 EDT
ABC image
The RFDS saved the day when five-year-old Clare was struck down with appendicitis on her family's property. - ABC

Clare O'Sullivan was at home with parents, her two sisters and her younger brother, enjoying the monsoon rain falling on their drought-stricken cattle property, when she fell unwell.

The five-year-old had appendicitis — something difficult enough given their remote location, but exacerbated by the region being deep under floodwaters.

It was the RFDS who first came to the rescue — picking up Clare and her mum Rebecca from Jumba Station, near Charters Towers, and flying them to Townsville.

Then the Australian Army stepped in, armed with a Bushmaster, to transport Clare and Ms O'Sullivan across flooded waters to the hospital.

Clare is now recovering, safe in her grandmother's apartment on The Strand with her mum.

At this stage, Ms O'Sullivan said she was unsure when they would be able to return home due to the road closures.

At home is her husband, John, Clare's twin sister Emilee, older sister Haley, and little brother, Rhett.

Ms O'Sullivan said the entire ordeal was "a bit of an adventure".

"We ended up arriving at the airport and being put in an Army-like medi-vac truck," she said.

"It was interesting. It's like getting in a matchbox; it's very confined."

Ms O'Sullivan said, despite the inconveniences and difficulty of getting Clare to hospital, she was never going to begrudge the rain.

For the year, they have had 160mm at their home, Jumba Station, but only 80-90mm of that was from the monsoon.

"Ours has been very blessed rain, it's been beautiful grass-soaking rain," she said.

"We've had nothing heavy or destructive."


© ABC 2019

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