Horsham Aeromedical Transfer Station moves forward after business donations

WIMMERA organisations have rallied behind a proposed Horsham Aeromedical Transfer Station that would protect people from the elements during and while awaiting transfers on medical aircraft.

Horsham Concrete Company employee Chris Jorgensen and his family have experienced the need for the station first-hand.

"I was driving from Horsham to Jeparit in February with a load of sand," Mr Jorgensen said.

"I got to Antwerp and blew a front right-hand tyre and ended up in the Antwerp cemetery."

The 39-year-old father of three's truck crashed through the front fence.

"It took me 19 weeks to get back here for a round trip," Mr Jorgensen said.

His wife Nic, a nurse, said her husband broke a wrist and pretty much everything from his hips down.

"He has got plates and pins in both hips and ankles and rods in four major parts of his legs - both femurs and both tibias - and nerve damage in his left leg," she said.

Mr Jorgensen was discharged from hospital earlier this month.

He said he was able to get around with crutches and a wheelchair, but experts were not sure whether he would regain full mobility in his left leg.

"At the moment, they're treating the nerve damage as permanent," Mr Jorgensen said.

Ambulance Victoria Horsham Auxiliary member and Horsham Ambulance Victoria team manager Paul Burton said aeromedical transfers were essential in Mr Jorgensen's emergency care.

"Chris's case is a good example of how the major trauma system works in Victoria," he said.

"While Horsham is a regional trauma service, there is a limit to the capabilities of such services.

"For the extent of the injuries Chris had, the only places of definitive care for him were the Royal Melbourne Hospital or The Alfred hospital."

Three medical aircraft helped transfer Mr Jorgensen to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

He was taken by helicopter from Antwerp to Horsham Aerodrome, from the aerodrome to Essendon Airport via fixed-wing plane, and from the plane to the hospital in another helicopter.

Mrs Jorgensen said a Horsham Aeromedical Transfer Station would have saved her family some stress.

"Being in a community like Horsham, we understand the importance of the Horsham Aeromedical Transfer Station because we're so far away from major health care when we need it," Mrs Jorgensen said.

Horsham Concrete Company will donate concrete for the station.

The company's occupational work, health and safety compliance manager Pauline Schmidt said the company was eager to be involved, especially given Mr Jorgensen's experiences.

"We need to do this," she said.

Horsham's Locks Constructions will manage the construction and McDonald Steel will donate steel.

Mr Burton said Wimmera organisations had been generous with their support.

"We've received more than $50,000 in donations so far," he said.

He hopes the project will cost less than the $160,000 initially anticipated.

Ambulance Victoria Horsham Auxiliary, Horsham East Rotary Club and Freemasons Victoria Wimmera Lodge are propelling the project.

The station will include two ambulance bays with ample space.

Mr Burton said it would be a safe, climate-controlled, well-lit environment for patients to be transferred from ambulances to aircraft, away from the challenges of weather and darkness.

He said people could donate to the cause at Horsham's Westpac Bank


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