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Dr Tinika Sivertsen put her emergency skills into practise at the Rural Health West Rural and Remote Retrieval Weekend.

“Guys, what’s that sound?” I turn around, listening intently. I can’t hear anything out of place – some birds, some trees, the distant sounds of the falls far below…

“Where’s Mark?” He was right behind me; how could we have lost him? I start jogging back along the trail, the steps echoing through gorges below. Oh no oh no oh no. He’s on the ground around the next corner and time stands still – but only for a moment. Agonal breaths shake his body as my team frantically empty the med kit onto the ground, but someone announces we’ve lost the pulse and the chest compressions start.

How did this happen?

It begins, as all good stories do, with a prophecy and a solar eclipse. Well, not quite a prophecy, but a phone call whilst the sky goes dark does feel awfully auspicious.

The phone call informed me that Rural Health West would kindly assist my attendance at the Rural and Remote Retrieval medicine weekend in Karijini – a lucky sign indeed!

Before too long, I’m on the plane and heading North.

Day 1 brought tragedy. The day began with a snake bite to a member of our team – thankfully saved by some quick first aid. A simple stumble resulted in a horrific facial trauma, and a swim in the gorge ended in a drowning. Thankfully, these were all simulation scenarios, planned and staged to teach wilderness first aid in a very memorable way. And it was definitely memorable! An excellent team (shout out to the awesome Emma, Janie, Andy, Mark and Nick!) coupled with a phenomenal setting (hello Karijini gorges!) made for some unforgettable memories. Not gonna lie, my first aid skills were feeling pretty consolidated at this point!

Day 2 brought further bedlam. Dislocations, fractures, spinal trauma and Mark’s aforementioned cardiac arrest were just a few of the more fantastic scenarios… and some gorgeous (gorge-ous?) hiking, swimming and waterfalls to boot. What’s not to love?

Finally, a meteor shower, a lunar eclipse and the howl of dingoes to a full moon rounded the weekend off rather poetically. Would I recommend? 100 per cent.

A special thanks to Rural Health West for sponsoring me on this trip.

PS last seen, Mark was doing fine.

Acknowledgement of Country