NW station boss saves life as floods hit
Hannah Williams had an allergic reaction. Picture: Michael Frogley

As tropical cyclone Heidi tore across the North West last month, isolating hundreds of residents, a life-threatening medical emergency was unfolding on a cattle station cut off by floodwater.

Rising water levels and 180mm of rain had isolated Wallareenya Station, 50km south-east of Port Hedland, on January 12 as station manager Carolyn Day dealt with a life-or-death situation.

Visiting university student Hannah Williams was having a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics.

With the 20-year-old battling rapidly worsening anaphylaxis, Mrs Day followed over-the-phone instructions from the Royal Flying Doctor Service to inject her with adrenaline and save her life.

The station was fortunate to be one of 600 sites across remote WA given an RFDS medical chest, which included the medication needed to save Ms Williams.

"It was a bit scary. I've needled thousands of cattle, so I knew the mechanics of it but it was quite a different thing giving it to a person," Mrs Day said.

A gap-year student, Ms Williams thought she had tonsillitis and went to the station from Port Hedland to be with her sister Georgia, who was working there.

"I woke in the morning just as the cyclone went through and I had this rash all over my body," she said.

"It just started getting worse and then I collapsed, I'm not sure what happened.

"That's when they rang the doctor and Carolyn jabbed me with adrenaline."

Once the worst of the cyclone had passed, the RFDS helicopter took Ms Williams to Hedland Health Campus, where she was diagnosed with glandular fever.

The West Australian

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