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Nicole feels the pain

ROUGH RIDE: Nicole Poole nursing her busted shoulder after falling off her horse and then enduring a rough 5 1/2 hour trip to the hospital. Picture by Bronwyn Christensen.
ROUGH RIDE: Nicole Poole nursing her busted shoulder after falling off her horse and then enduring a rough 5 1/2 hour trip to the hospital. Picture by Bronwyn Christensen.

NICOLE Poole knew the road from her family's property at “Burnley”, between Taroom and Theodore, was bad, but every bump and rut during a slow journey to the Theodore Hospital with a broken shoulder and collar bone just brought it home.

A training co-ordinator with Rural Industry Training and Employment (RITE) based in Charters Towers, Nicole jumped at the chance of a few days at home to help her parents with some cattle work. However, a serious fall from a horse and a painful journey to medical assistance has seen those few days stretch into a few weeks.

Nicole had been helping guide cattle through a fence when her mare, Music, went to block a wayward beast and stepped into an unseen hole. Both horse and rider went down with Nicole's shoulder spearing into the ground just before her mare went over on top of her. Sela Tuavao, an advanced care paramedic with the Theodore Ambulance responded to the call and was able to meet Nicole en route to the Burnley homestead.

However, the paramedic and Nicole's family's concern for the potential damage - and pain - that could be caused by a road trip to Theodore delayed Nicole's transport for more than an hour while they determined if a helicopter was available. Finally, after confirmation that a road journey was the only option, officer Tuavao strapped Nicole in as firmly as possible and began the 60 km trip to Theodore Hospital, travelling most of the way at 40kmh The delay and the slow speed meant it was 5½ hours before she received a full medical assessment and treatment at the Theodore Hospital.

Normally upbeat and positive, Nicole conceded that the trip to Theodore was painful.

“Sela did everything possible to lessen any jolting during the drive, but in some sections, there is nowhere to go other than through the ruts or potholes. Bone grating on bone was not a pleasant sensation,” she said.

Nicole's father Doug has been lobbying to have the road fixed, but to no avail.

“We are so thankful that Nicole's injuries were not life-threatening. However, as in previous accidents out this way, the issue of the state of the road as the major cause of delayed medical attention is of very real concern to us.

“The Burnley-Taroom road has not seen a grader from one end to the other for a number of years and in some areas the condition of the road makes travelling impossible to all but four-wheel drive vehicles,” he said.

“Given Nicole's and previous situations that have required prompt medical attention, we hope the council can understand our wish to amend this situation.”

A Banana Shire Council spokesman conceded that the condition of the road was not good.

“While we realise that the road is not at its best and recognise that even when it has been recently graded it is not smooth road, it is not due for grading for another few months unless there are actual dangerous sections like a washout,” he said.

The council also acknowledged the road needed some major work. However, there was nothing in the budget except for grading.

The Burnley-Taroom road has not seen

a grader for years


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