Richmond Hill dentist Dr Peter Martin with his Cessna XP Hawk.
Richmond Hill dentist Dr Peter Martin with his Cessna XP Hawk. Jacklyn Wagner

Flying doctor's personal mission

DENTIST and pilot Dr Peter Martin goes to extreme lengths to help people with serious illnesses in remote regional areas.

For seven years, he has flown his light plane to distant parts of Australia, picked up isolated ill people, usually children, and transported them to medical care.

"It's good to be able to share the privilege that I've got to be able to fly in the first place," Dr Martin said.

The Richmond Hill resident said he was inspired by patients he transported.

"It has never ceased to amaze me, particularly these little children who have so many things wrong with them, at the end of the day they've still got this big smile on their face," he said.

Dr Martin has conducted about one to two patient transfers each week and paid for the associated costs. However, national patient transfer organisation, Angel Flight, has reimbursed Dr Martin for fuel.

Dr Martin said the implementation of a positron emission tomography scan machine, which takes dynamic pictures of cancer patients' organs, at Lismore Base Hospital will soon require him to fly a large number of patients to Lismore.

"This is the only regional area that has been provided with this facility. Once it's established, there will be a lot of patients brought into Lismore for that purpose alone," he said.

Northern Rivers Aero Club vice president Allan Fry said Dr Martin's dedication to helping other people was a rarity.

"You go through life and meet a lot of people, but then you meet someone like this and you remember what it's all about," Mr Fry said.

Dr Martin said he would find it difficult to continue transporting patients without Angel Flight subsidising his fuel. In June, a fundraiser will be held for Angel Flight at Northern Rivers Aero Club and you can also donate via angelflight.org.au.



GALLERY: Burnt out fire truck

premium_icon GALLERY: Burnt out fire truck

The RFS truck will probably be written off.

"Someone could have been injured or killed"

premium_icon "Someone could have been injured or killed"

An RFS crew sheltered in their truck as the grass fire overcame them

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