The Royal Flying Doctor Service on conjunction with the Central Australian Retrieval Service (CARS) responds to requests for medical evacuation across an area of 1.6 million square kilometres in Central Australia.
This includes remote Aboriginal communities of between 20 and 1000 people, cattle stations, and the tourist areas of Uluru and Watarrka.
Due to the distances involved, the vast majority of these retrievals take place by fixed wing aircraft, utilizing the resources of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Central Operations. Most of the medications required for treatment of these patients are carried by RFDS, but on occasion, the retrieval doctor needs to bring additional therapeutic agents from the hospital, such as blood products or snake antivenom.
Snake antivenom is heat sensitive and needs to be stored between 2-8°C.
In Central Australia where outdoor temperatures can go up to 40°C or higher in summer, it is paramount that we have a means of cold chain storage for transportation of antivenom.
If the antivenom is exposed to high temperatures for a significant amount of time, it may need to be discarded as its stability may be affected. This results in significant wastage and costs involved to the hospital.
Both services are using the Medactiv iCool range to transport the medication between different locations.