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Cardiac disease is a major killer of people across Australia and the world. Early detection and treatment by a qualified cardiac specialist can be life-saving. But while people living in major cities take this access to services for granted, people in rural and regional communities are going without.
If you live outside a major city in Australia, you are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease – not because the medicine and treatments are unknown, but because we have been unable to effectively deliver the same level of care to country people as we do to their city cousins.
In order to challenge this health inequity, cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes built a state of the art clinic-on-wheels, known as The Heart Truck. The Heart Truck brings cardiac and respiratory specialists and their equipment to the heart of regional Australia. Dr Rolf Gomes is an electrical engineer turned cardiologist who founded Heart of Australia, a revolutionary mobile clinic designed to mobilise specialist cardiology healthcare technology for people in rural & remote Queensland. With the support of his wife & a hefty mortgage on their home, they launched the first Heart of Australia bus.
The 18-wheeler semi-trailer ‘clinic’, fondly known in the bush as ‘The Heart Truck’ was personally designed by Rolf.Drawing on his engineering skills as well as his medical training and experience, the Heart Truck carries all the must-have tools that Rolf believed were essential to be able to provide genuine, on-the-spot cardiology diagnosis, including stress test equipment.
The Heart Truck travels 8,000kms (5,000 miles) each month to visit 13 communities throughout outback Queensland. The Heart Truck has (to date) welcomed more than 3,700 patients and saved more than 150 lives by diagnosing previously undetected, critical cardiac conditions.