Mark's so thankful for AGL chopper
IT WAS just after midnight on a Thursday morning in early February and Mark Taylor had clocked off from his night shift as the security officer at Dingos Backpackers in Rainbow Beach.
He was riding his beloved Harley along roads he'd known most of his life and was heading for home and rest.
"I'd passed the Matilda on Tin Can Bay Rd and as I rounded a corner I saw the kangaroo in my headlights," he said.
"It was a big one - about nine foot tall.
"I've travelled that road daily for months. I've only ever seen a roo at dawn or dusk - never in the middle of the night.
"There was no time to do anything, it just seemed to hop into my path hitting the bike and then bouncing off back into the bushes.
"The bike crashed onto its right-hand side from the impact with my leg trapped underneath and I was dragged along for nearly 40m.
"I eventually stopped just centimetres from the white line at the edge of the road.
"I went back to the spot recently and saw it would have been a 10m-drop into the water - and I realised then if I hadn't managed to stop where I did I'd have probably drowned.
"A farmer had heard the crash and came running over.
"He managed to move the bike off my arm and leg. It weighs nearly half a ton. But when I tried to get up I couldn't feel my foot.
"I was wearing my leathers and my wet weather gear and that's probably what saved the rest of me.
"So I took my helmet off, put it under my knee and tried not to look at my foot, I knew it was hurt and didn't want to know how bad.
"I found my mobile and managed to call 000.
"I used to watch the chopper land all the time in Gympie. I knew it was for the serious patients. When I saw it waiting there for me I knew it was the only chance I had - I'd lost so much blood.
"The minute the ambos arrived they took one look and told me to stay exactly as I was and then they called for the chopper.
"I was awake the whole time, right until landing on the helipad at Brisbane. And then I passed out and didn't wake up again until 48 hours later in ICU. My foot was hanging on by a thread - a couple of inches of tendon and vein was all that was keeping it attached to my leg."
Mark's right foot was virtually severed above the ankle. The surgeons told him they'd never seen such a bad compound fracture.
Mark spent two months in hospital in Brisbane and still has to go back every few weeks for treatment.
He can wiggle a few toes now but has been told he'll never be able to use his foot fully again and won't be able to bend his ankle. His days as a security guard are over.
Back at his Bells Bridge home, Mark is adjusting to the new challenges life has thrown him.
WorkCover has kicked in for all his hospital treatment but the future isn't quite as clear. He'd only recently qualified as a security guard having spent 18 months at TAFE passing all the exams and getting his certification.
His previous job as a forklift driver isn't an option either.
But for all that, he knew he owed his life to the treatment he got at every stage in the chain of survival that kicked in when someone had an accident as serious as his.
"If it wasn't for the chopper rushing me to Brisbane I know I'd have bled to death."