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Millie’s Story

Every day the Rescue Helicopter responds to a wide variety of critical missions from motor vehicle accidents to remote rescues, but our supporters rarely see the lifesaving inter-hospital transfers we conduct.

Eight year old Millie nearly lost her life to Influenza B. The rapid response of the Rescue Helicopter connected Millie with the lifesaving treatment she needed.

Millie had been experiencing flu-like symptoms for two days. After multiple doctor’s appointments and no improvement, her parents took her to their local hospital for further assessment. It became apparent that Millie’s heart was not working. Influenza B was attacking her heart muscle and the reduced blood supply meant all of her vital organs were starting to shut down.

“Fly as quickly as you can, because this girl is not going to make it”

Due to the critical nature of Millie’s case and the specialised care required, Millie was transported in the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. With a NSW Health Doctor and Nurse on board, she was flown to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

The state of the art facilities on board the aircraft, its speed and the specialised medical team proved vital in Millie’s hour of need.

Millie’s mother Stephanie recalls the heart wrenching conversation on board the aircraft as it lifted off, “I remember staring at Millie and the Doctor turned to the Pilot and said ‘…fly as quickly as you can, because this girl is not going to make it’.”

On arrival at Westmead, Stephanie followed the medical team. “I went to say ‘thank you’, says Stephanie “…and there was code red, the Doctor turned to me and said Millie’s heart has stopped”.

Millie was resuscitated after eight minutes. She was on life support for 10 days and remained intubated and sedated. Her battle was just beginning. Millie developed pneumonia, and contractures in her arms and legs.

She endured liver failure, kidney failure and her peripheral circulation was compromised. She broke out in a severe rash and large welts all over her body.

“Then she started to wake up. I knew that my little girl was going to be alright.”

Millie’s parents were at their wits end. “In those first few weeks I kept on thinking how much can this little girl handle? She has been thrown everything… and then she started to wake up. I knew that my little girl was going to be alright.” Stephanie said.

As Millie recalls “I spent six months in hospital all together. I had a big surgery on my heart. My brother Kit was very worried, because he thought he would lose his big sister.”

For Millie, the road to recovery is long, but she has shown grit and determination well beyond her years. She and her family approach each day grateful for the time critical response our team provided, as Millie’s young life hung in the balance.

Stephanie said “The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service was fundamental to Millie, without that Millie would not have survived. We are forever grateful.”

Naturally, the final word in this heart-warming story has to go Millie;

“I would like to thank Dr Yolly, the medical team and all the Westpac Helicopter Crew because I owe my life to them. They saved my life.”