The generous gesture of two Queensland paramedics who fulfilled a dying woman’s wish by taking her to the beach one last time has inspired a new service in the state to help residents in their final days.
In 2017, Hervey Bay paramedics Danielle and Graeme warmed hearts across the country when they took a detour to the beach so an elderly patient could see the ocean before she passed away.
Showing an act of true compassion and kindness, Graeme even filled a bag with water from the ocean and let the patient run her hands through it.
It was a moment that brought tears to the eyes of many and it’s now inspired the newly launched Wish ambulance, which will give Queenslanders the opportunity to visit a place of their choice in the days leading up to their death.
The special ambulance will be staffed by volunteer paramedics and run by Palliative Care Queensland with support from the Queensland Ambulance Service and the government, who have donated over $50,000 in funding for the program.
Speaking at the launch on Thursday, Health Minister Steven Miles said the service will relieve the pressure from paramedics who have for years been showing small acts of kindness to their patients.
“Our ambos have been doing these kinds of things forever really,” he said, according to Nine News.
“But they’ve had to sneak around and when they’ve been busy they haven’t been able to do it.”
@PalliativeCareQ's ‘Ambulance Wish Queensland’ program has hit the road! Qld Health committed $50K + a @QldAmbulance ambulance to support the Australian first program which grants terminally ill Qlders one last wish. Today, Betty choose to see the 🌼 and eat passionfruit 🍦 pic.twitter.com/FrQyowZFQI
— Queensland Health (@qldhealthnews) July 25, 2019
On Thursday the service ran its first of many special trips with patient Betty Dowsett who chose to go to the Botanic Gardens and eat a passionfruit ice cream.
In a post shared on social media the 92-year-old could be seen sitting comfortably on a stretcher holding her favourite treat before going on her chosen day out.
“@PalliativeCareQ’s ‘Ambulance Wish Queensland’ program has hit the road!” the post on Twitter read. “Qld Health committed $50K + a @QldAmbulance ambulance to support the Australian first program which grants terminally ill Qlders one last wish.
“Today Betty chose to see the flowers and eat a passionfruit ice cream.”
The gorgeous Betty Dowsett charms our Health and Ambulance Services minister @StevenJMiles at the launch of our new charity program Ambulance Wish Queensland. Betty is the first person to receive a dying wish as part of this Australian first program.@QldAmbulance @Pall_Care_Aus pic.twitter.com/Y3zLabni55
— Palliative Care Qld (@PalliativeCareQ) July 24, 2019
While the service is the first of its kind in Australia there are other places across the world that have already implemented the idea including one in the Netherlands which the new service is modelled on.
Sharing details of the heartwarming service Palliative Care Queensland Chief Executive Officer Shyla Mills said it will be a great program for all involved.
“This program is not only beneficial to the wish recipient and their families, it is a wonderful opportunity for health professionals to volunteer and be a part of the last wish experience,” she said according to The Courier Mail.
The new service will begin receiving requests from December 1 this year when it is officially opened.