2016 Australia's Local Hero (Western Australia) Flying doctor
From: Western Australia
During his 32 year career with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), Dr Stephen Langford has saved countless lives and eased tremendous suffering. Starting at the front line in 1983, Stephen saw the opportunities available within the RFDS to expand and improve its services. Working tirelessly over many years, Stephen introduced dozens of systems and innovations, such as treatment preventing premature birth, clot-busting drugs for heart patients, portable ultrasound, a single state-wide emergency number and specialised equipment for heavy patients. Tackling the tyranny of distance, Stephen campaigned for the first RFDS jet, transforming how emergency medical teams could respond to remote patients – some of whom are 2,000 kilometres from specialist hospitals. As Medical Director of the RFDS in Western Australia, Stephen has had a tremendous influence on health in remote indigenous communities. Recent studies confirm high survival rates for patients with serious trauma in remote Western Australia and excellent outcomes for obstetric emergences, when cared for by Stephen’s RFDS teams.