Health Stories

Woman winched off cruise liner and flown to Sydney in race against time for lifesaving kidney

An amazing story!

The kidney that Kathie John, 40, had been waiting for was finally available. There was only one problem. Kathie was on a cruise liner heading to Tasmania and her kidney was in Sydney!

Kathie, who spent 18 hours a week on dialysis, was on a holiday with her mum and got the good news about her kidney right in the middle of Bass Strait.

An Ambulance Victoria helicopter was dispatched which collected her from the ship and dropped her at Melbourne where she was flown by plane to Sydney, and driven in an ambulance to Westmead hospital.

She went under the knife within hours of finding out about the kidney.

‘I felt like I was on a TV episode of a special operation,’ she told Ambulance Victoria.

‘It was so awesome. I was really excited about it, I wasn’t scared. It was exciting to know that I was getting a kidney and to see all the work behind it to make this happen for me.’

Paramedic Toby St Clair was responsible for winching Kathie up to the helicopter.

‘It was exciting that it was a very successful job and ended up having a wonderful outcome. The crew felt very privileged to be involved,’ he says.

Kathie is now recovering from her surgery and says she can’t wait to ‘live a normal life.’

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