Australian ambulance to grant patients’ dying wishes

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Some of the wishes of terminally ill people are like visiting pets, children or grandchildren, museums and art galleries. Above, is a patient visiting a botanical garden. (AFP)
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The program was inspired by ambulance officers who took a detour to the beach, based on patient's requests, in late 2017. (AFP)
Updated 26 July 2019

Australian ambulance to grant patients’ dying wishes

  • Queensland state government will dedicate a decommissioned ambulance to grant wishes for dying patients
  • The Australian initiative is modelled after a similar program in the Netherlands

SYDNEY: Inspired by an Australian ambulance crew who took a dying woman to the beach on her way to hospital, officials have announced a dedicated vehicle to grant final wishes to terminally ill patients.
In late 2017, ambulance officers in the northern state of Queensland took a detour on the way to hospital as per the wishes of a dying patient who wanted to see the ocean one last time.
The touching gesture was captured by a photo showing a paramedic beside a stretcher facing the ocean at Hervey Bay, on Australia’s northeast coast.
This week the Queensland state government announced it was dedicating a decommissioned ambulance to granting dying wishes of terminally ill patients, such as visiting their pets, their children, their grandchildren or visiting an art gallery or museum.
“Fulfilling the final wishes of people can be challenging as you could be transporting someone who can’t walk, or sit in a chair, or who might require continuous oxygen or other medical appliances and support,” Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said in a statement.
The Australian-first initiative is modelled on a similar program run in the Netherlands.
“With the Ambulance Wish Queensland program medically trained volunteers, adapted ambulances, and necessary equipment will transport people to fulfil their wish successfully and safely,” Miles added.


Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

Updated 16 November 2019

Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

  • Wildlife ranger Craig Dickmann made a split-second decision to go fishing in a remote part of Northern Australia known as ‘croc country.’
  • ‘That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws’

CAIRNS, Australia: An Australian wildlife ranger has recounted his terrifying escape from the clutches of a “particularly cunning” crocodile, after wrestling with the reptile and sticking a finger in its eye.
Craig Dickmann, who made a split-second decision to go fishing last Sunday in a remote part of Northern Australia known as “croc country” last Sunday, said a 2.8-meter (nine-foot) crocodile came up from behind him as he was leaving the beach.
“As I’ve turned to go, the first thing I see is its head just come at me,” he told reporters on Friday from his hospital bed in the town of Cairns in Queensland state.
Dickmann said the animal latched on to his thigh.
“That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws,” he said.
The 54-year-old said he wrestled with the croc on the remote beach as it tried to drag him into the water.
Dickmann stuck his thumb into its eye, saying it was the only “soft spot” he found on the “bullet-proof” animal.
“Their eyes retract a fair way and when you go down far enough you can feel bone so I pushed as far as I possibly could and then it let go at that point,” Dickmann said.
After a few minutes, he said he managed to get on top of the croc and pin its jaws shut.
“And then, I think both the croc and I had a moment where we’re going, ‘well, what do we do now?’”
Dickmann said he then pushed the croc away from him and it slid back into the water.
The ranger had skin ripped from his hands and legs in the ordeal and drove more than 45 minutes back to his home before calling emergency services.
It was then another hour in the car to meet the Royal Flying Doctors Service who flew him to Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering from the ordeal.
“This croc was particularly cunning and particularly devious,” he said.
Queensland’s department of environment this week euthanized the animal.
“The area is known croc country and people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise,” the department said in a statement.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters long and weigh more than a ton, are common in the vast continent’s tropical north.
Their numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with attacks on humans rare.
According to the state government, the last non-fatal attack was in January 2018 in the Torres Strait while the last death was in October 2017 in Port Douglas.