Home > Rescue Stories > Inter Hospital Transfer

Chevy’s Holiday Rescue

It was a much-anticipated coastal getaway for the Mirtschin family from Lithgow as they holidayed on the North Coast at Nambucca Heads in winter 2023. That was until their 14-year-old son Chevy, an asthmatic, experienced a severe asthma attack.

“Chevy has had asthma since he was 9 months old,” mum Jess said. “While at childcare they called an ambulance due to his difficulty in breathing and he was hospitalised for three days and diagnosed as being asthmatic but had only been hospitalised twice before this episode. It wasn’t until he was 12 when he was allergy tested did we have results to confirm this. But we still don’t know what caused such a severe attack.“

As his condition deteriorated, Chevy’s breathing was becoming increasingly restricted and having experienced attacks before, he knew this one was worse than any he had encountered, so he told his mum he needed to go to hospital.

Initially taken to Macksville Hospital, an ambulance was soon called and Chevy was transferred to Coffs Harbour Hospital where he was intubated to assist his breathing – an uncommon practice for asthma patients but Chevy’s condition was serious.

“I knew I wasn’t well when I was being transferred from Macksville Hospital to Coffs Harbour, I don’t remember anything from the triage when I arrived at Coffs,” Chevy said.

After being assessed by hospital staff, Chevy required an urgent inter-hospital transfer to John Hunter Hospital. Tasked from the Belmont base early on Saturday morning July 15, 2023, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter flew Chevy and his mum from Coffs Harbour to John Hunter Hospital.

Chevy spent five days in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and then a further three days under observation on the ward.

“It was a horrific experience as a parent but Chevy was very brave and we both knew that he was in the best of care,” Jess said. “If there was to be an upside, it’s that he is now under the care of the Westmead Children’s Hospital due to his life-threatening condition, with a new regime of medication and he has never had such great control over his asthma.”

“I wanted to thank the medical team and crew on the aircraft for their support – they were amazing. On the flight from Coffs to Newcastle, they kept me updated on Chevy’s condition and importantly, somehow, managed to keep me calm,” Jess said.

With his new medication, Chevy is back doing what he enjoys as a typical teenage boy – motorbike riding, a newly found passion for hockey and army cadets. Chevy is now able to participate in weekend cadet camps which can be high intensity plus carrying a day pack that is 20kg in weight – activities he would never have been able to do prior to his new medication and treatment plan.

“I’m forever thankful to the doctors, specialists, nurses and the retrieval team on the helicopter who saved my life, as deep down I knew I was dying. I’m grateful for my mum for being there throughout the whole experience and my family for all their support. I’m now able to ride my bike to school without being breathless all the time, as well as working, being a part of army cadets and playing sport. I feel like I can live my life without my asthma holding me back. I tell my mates now and anyone who will listen – if I or anyone says they are struggling to breath just call 000 and never second guess or question asthma as it nearly killed me,” Chevy said.