Fa­tal bus crash de­fined staff

Med­i­cal staff recog­nised for out­stand­ing treat­ment

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.”

.Photo Peter Carruthers

HOR­ROR CRASH: The over­turned Whitsunday Tran­sit bus on Shute Har­bour Road.

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