REUNITED: Man meets rescue team that saved his life
THE last time champion North Burnett wood chopper Jake Dingle and Brisbane-based critical care flight nurse Renee Bolot met, Mr Dingle was in the back of an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter on his way to Bundaberg Hospital.
Mr Dingle was mustering on a family property between Mundubbera and Gayndah when he was impaled by the tip of a fallen, dead tree.
"As I cantered past on my horse, I didn't realise the tree was there and it went in at my knee, through my thigh, all the way up to my groin,” Mr Dingle said.
"It was like a spear.”
By a stroke of luck, the piece of wood stopped just short of Mr Dingle's femoral artery.
Jake was urgently taken to Gayndah Hospital, where the helicopter was waiting.
Ms Bolot said airlifting a patient, with his leg still skewered by a tree branch, was a mission she won't forget.
"It had been a busy morning and while we were at a Brisbane Hospital, dropping a patient off, the call came in that we needed to go to Gayndah,” she said.
"Within an hour and a half, we were landing at the hospital and ready to provide Jake the critical care he needed.
"I'd seen a lot in my time as a flight nurse, but that job will stay with me for a while, he came so close to a very different outcome,” Ms Bolot said.
Mr Dingle received thirty staples in his leg where the branch was removed.
He is now an Australian champion wood chopper and at 27, an Ekka stalwart, having competed at the Royal Queensland Show for nearly 15 years.
It wouldn't have happened if not for Ms Bolot and he was reunited with her at this year's Ekka to thank her for saving his life.
"It's great to see how far Jake has come since we last met,” Ms Bolot said.