Barwick meets hero doc
WHITSUNDAYS shark attack survivor Justine Barwick broke down in tears during an emotional reunion with the Queensland doctor who helped save her life.
The 46-year-old Tasmanian woman remarkably survived after suffering “very serious injuries” and life-threatening blood loss when she was bitten on the leg by a tiger shark in CID Harbour in September.
Dr John Hadok, a generalist of emergency medicine, was awarded a 2018 Pride of Australia Medal for his quick-thinking and lifesaving efforts in the moments after the attack on September 19.
The pair came face-to-face for the first time since the horrifying attack in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson for The Sunday Project, which aired last weekend.
During the screening of the touching reunion, Ms Barwick is overcome with emotion and broke down in tears when asked by Wilkinson if she is looking forward to seeing her rescuer.
“I feel excited and nervous and just so thankful,” she said in the moments before the reunion.
For the first time, Ms Barwick also described the full force of the attack in which her upper inner thigh area was savaged, with a bite puncturing her artery.
She said she did not see the shark before she was mauled.
“I just felt this incredible force that I actually struggle to explain,” she told Wilkinson.
“I do remember pushing the shark away from me and then I swam back to the boat.”
Husband Craig Barwick, who worked with close family friends to stem the haemorrhaging, was praised by Dr Hadok in the wake of the traumatic event, with the doctor having said their efforts to control the bleeding meant he could focus on evacuating her via the rescue helicopter.
On The Sunday Project, Mr Barwick said Dr Hadok’s arrival to the scene was critical to his wife’s survival.
“I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do so, you know, his help there was just unbelievable,” Craig said.
Ms Barwick, an operations manager who spent time recovering in Brisbane following the attack, said she remembered seeing Dr Hadok’s face at the scene.
She also recalled that the day started just like any other on their holiday.
“It was a warm day, I just decided I’d have a quick dip to freshen up and was bitten,” she said.
Dr Hadok flew to Tasmania for the reunion earlier this month.
“She was really good,” he said at the time.
Ms Barwick was one of three shark attack victims at the same spot which resulted in a shark cull and drumlines being installed in the area.
Melbourne schoolgirl Hannah Papps, 12, had her left leg amputated after she was bitten a day after Ms Barwick was attacked.
Melbourne doctor Daniel Christidis, 33, died following a shark attack in November.
REUNITED: Craig Barwick, Justine Barwick and Dr John Hadok meet as part of an interview on The Sunday Project.