Fatal bus crash defined staff
Medical staff recognised for outstanding treatment
PROSERPINE Hospital was tested to its absolute limit when a bus crashed, with mass casualties, on February 16.
A 19-year-old man died, two people lost limbs and a further eight, including a baby, were admitted to hospital after one of the region’s worst road accidents.
Proserpine Hospital activated its disaster plan shortly after the crash to deal with the casualties immediately after the accident.
MHHS chief executive Clare Douglas said teamwork allowed hospital staff to care for nine critically injured patients, which earned them a Mackay Hospital and Health Service Excellence Award.
“Nine of the 13 people on board the bus were taken to Proserpine Hospital by ambulance, ranging from a sixmonth-old baby to an 80-yearold,” Ms Douglas said.
“This incident was by far the most challenging disaster that Proserpine Hospital had faced and co-ordinated in many years.
“Sadly one patient died in the emergency department while another two were transferred to Mackay Base Hospital and another two to the Townsville Hospital.
“The remaining four were admitted to Proserpine Hospital.”
Ms Douglas said hospital staff were mobilised to ensure there were sufficient staff to care for patients, and visiting surgeons from Mackay Base Hospital were able to help. Whitsunday GPs were also called in.
“Clinical and non-clinical staff were allocated roles and were led by a number of senior staff within the team, with triage being a critical component of the process,” she said.
“All staff displayed leadership skills that were adaptable, flexible and changeable. They were calm, which enabled them to clearly make decisions and act in the best interests of the patients and their families.”
This incident was by far the most challenging disaster... Clare Douglas
Ms Douglas said there were also many people involved outside the actual clinical care of the patients.
“All staff had to think on their feet... to come up with solutions to situations that they had never faced before,” she said.
“Staff bought with them many life experiences and individually contributed to ensure that this critical incident ran as smoothly as possible.”
HORROR CRASH: The overturned Whitsunday Transit bus on Shute Harbour Road.