News Archive: Sep 2021

Second opinion saves Brian’s life

Posted on 9th September 2021

Two weeks beforehand, the 80-year-old cattle farmer was with his wife Evelyn, seeking a second opinion from Dr Rolf Gomes on our Heart Truck.

“If it wasn’t for Heart of Australia, I wouldn’t be alive to be standing here talking to you,” Brian says.

Living in Springsure, 800 kilometres from Brisbane, Brian and his wife run a 12,000-acre cattle property, and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down just yet.

After a hip operation in 2016, Brian’s surgeon detected a leaking valve in his heart,

“After my surgery, I visited a heart specialist. After some time, my wife and I decided to get a second opinion,.”he says.

Brian made an appointment with his GP seeking a referral to another cardiologist.

He had seen the Heart of Australia truck set up around town, but it was when he was waiting in his doctors’ surgery that he noticed a flyer promoting the service.

He said to his wife, “The Heart Truck is in Springsure today.” Evelyn replied, “Do you want to go?” but Brian thought it would be too late to get an appointment.

Sure enough, the stars aligned, and Brian’s GP and the Heart of Australia Bookings Team secured him an appointment that very afternoon with Dr Rolf Gomes for a Cardiology consultation.

With dry weather preventing them from leaving their livestock, seeking help was often difficult Evelyn says.

“Brian had been waiting for it to rain before seeking a second opinion, and when the rain didn’t arrive, it turned out pretty well in the end. It’s very difficult for us to get away, especially when it’s so dry. With water shortages, we have to ensure the cattle are well looked after.”

Following his operation Brian spent a month in St Vincent’s Private Hospital and had multiple trips to the ICU, Brian still thanks his lucky stars. “I was one of the lucky ones,” he says.

After his surgery, Brian can see his surgeon at the Mater Hospital in Rockhampton. And with 12-month check-ups required, it means less time away from the farm. In-between these visits, he can catch up with Dr Gomes in Springsure. “It’s excellent being able to see Dr Gomes when he comes to Springsure. It helps us keep up with it all” Brian says. “You have to keep up with it all because anything could be going on.”

Brian and Evelyn have lived in Springsure their whole lives and 49 years on their cattle property. It’s a lifestyle they love.
“Having the Heart of Australia service visit Springsure gives me peace of mind to continue working on the farm and doing what I love. It’s a wonderful service,” Brian says.

Brian and Evelyn Milner joined Heart of Australia as guests at the HEART 4 launch in April, capturing the hearts of all those he spoke to and shared his story with.

Tony Hall driver profile – Discovering new territory

Posted on 9th September 2021

They say that trucks drive Australia. Well, they definitely drive Heart of Australia.

Tony Hall has been a part of the Heart of Australia Team since November 2020 and brings a wealth of both medical and heavy vehicle driving experience to the company.

His previous roles include working with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, QFES, as an Auxiliary Firefighter and worked as a Mine Site Supervisor for a company providing Fire and Rescue, Paramedics, Nurses and Security to mine sites located in the Bower Basin. Afterwards, he transitioned to a career in trucking.

Amassing over ten years of driving experience,  Tony drove for several major trucking companies up and down the East Coast of Australia, delivering general freight, fresh produce, frozen goods, fuel, and everything in between.

Joining the Heart of Australia team marked a significant career pivot opportunity for Tony. Given the unique nature of his position, it is just as much about people and operations as it is about driving trucks.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the Heart of Australia Team,” says Tony.

“My position with Heart of Australia is Operational Support Officer and MC Driver. I’ve been with Heart of Australia for nine months now and am thoroughly enjoying my time with the company.”

Tony’s role requires him to drive the 18 and 34-wheel heavy haulage vehicles, affectionately known as Heart Trucks, between the various mobile medical clinic locations, set up and pack down of clinics, coordinate and perform general maintenance and care, and ensure all medical specialists and crew arrive on time, ready for a busy day.

In recent months, Tony has had the opportunity to also play an active role supporting the NextGen Medics students when their study blocks coincide with his rotations.

The NextGen Medics student incentive program provides medical and allied health students with the opportunity to experience hands-on medical care from leading specialists. The students spend four blocks on the different Heart Trucks, meeting and working with different specialists, sonographers and team members across the program. 

Tony’s commitment to engaging positively with the NextGen Medics students when they come on board during his rotations is motivated by his understanding of the important role they will play in serving rural communities in the future.

“If I’m working while they’re onboard I do everything I can to ensure they feel safe, and comfortable and that they enjoy themselves.”

Being one of Heart of Australia’s experienced drivers, we were thrilled to offer Tony the opportunity to drive the Northern Route behind the wheel of our brand new DAF XF 530 prime mover, kindly supplied by PACCAR Australia.

“I’m looking forward to this new opportunity where I will venture into some new areas that I have never had the opportunity to visit in North Queensland.”

“It is an honour and privilege to be taking this vehicle out to service the people of remote and regional Queensland. Be sure to give me a wave when you see me, or even better, call in and have a look through to the newest addition to our fleet!”

The Northern Route will serve the communities of Sarina, Proserpine, Ayr, Cooktown and the surrounding areas, providing residents access to cardiology, sonography, cardiac monitoring, sleep diagnostics and respiratory services.

It’s Tony’s wealth of knowledge, skills, compassion and understanding that makes him a valued part of the Heart of Australia Team.