Specialist clinicians at two world-leading adult burns units are nowproviding critical care to eight New South Wales residents injured in the WhiteIsland volcano disaster.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said, with two more patients expectedto be repatriated today, the commitment and skills of all healthstaff involved was incredible.
“Even as we continue to mourn the loss of our fellowAustralians, our focus in the NSW Health system is on treating thecritical injuries suffered by those now in our care,” Dr Chant said.
“Five patients are being treated at Concord Hospital, and three patientsare being treated at Royal North Shore Hospital, with two more on the way homesoon.
“There is no other place I would rather see these patients treated thanat these two hospitals, whose world-class clinical care gives us with the best chance to save lives.”
Dr PeterHaertsch, Head of Department of Operating Theatres and Plastic Surgery, ConcordState-wide Burns Service, said treating volcano burns presented manychallenges.
“The patients under our care have been exposed to a fast-moving cloud ofvery hot volcanic gas and volcanic matter such as pumice and ash,” Dr Haertschsaid.
“As a result,they have suffered severe contact skin burns with severe injuries due toinhalation of gas and ash, and we are looking at extensive and intensive care for these patients, some of whom are still ina life-threatening condition.
“Once again, I commendthe skills and co-operation of New Zealandhealth authorities, who haveprovided excellent immediate care when this tragedy occurred,” he said.
Dr Chant alsosaid NSW Health’s Organ and TissueDonation Service has provided a large volume, 10,000 cm2, of skin to NewZealand to assist with the management of burnsvictims in consultation with the State and NationalDisaster Coordination teams.
“I assure the community that NSW has skin available to treat those burnspatients being repatriated to NSW as well as potential bush fire burnsinjuries,” she said.
Skin is donatedby deceased donors.NSW Health would like to recognise these donors astheir skin is now being used to help the patients being treated in New Zealandand those being returned to NSW for treatment.