Pride in work of emergency department

Dunedin Hospital’s emergency department was already brimming with people when staff got the call that a major trauma incident was unfolding just blocks away.

It was all hands on deck when four stabbing patients were brought from the nearby Countdown supermarket to the hospital about 2.30pm on Monday.

Dunedin Hospital emergency department clinical director Rich Stephenson said staff had little time to prepare before the victims began to arrive.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, he said while staff trained and practised for those types of situations, it was nonetheless a challenging and stressful time for all involved.

Southern DHB emergency department clinical director Dr Richard Stephenson (front) speaks at a...
Southern DHB emergency department clinical director Dr Richard Stephenson (front) speaks at a press conference in Dunedin yesterday. Behind him are nursing lead Janet Andrews and Southern district police commander Superintendent Paul Basham. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN

"We received several very critically ill patients into the emergency department at short notice and I am proud of the job our hospital team did in caring for them."

The emergency department was just starting to get busy around the time of the incident, and it was full when patients started arriving.

The impact on normal department operations was "enormous".

"We have to get our current patients, without compromising their care, out of the way so we can look after the arrivals," Dr Stephenson said.

The 11 patients were discharged from the emergency department rather than wards. Photo: ODT file
The emergency department was just starting to get busy around the time of the incident. Photo: ODT file

"We were able to mobilise multiple trauma teams to look after each patient individually and we were able to open several acute operating theatres to deal with the requirement for emergency operations, as well."

By yesterday afternoon none of the victims required intensive care, but they had a long road to recovery from their injuries, he said.

"I think it’s fair to say they’re all significant and will have some ongoing consequences."

 

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