Bar­wick meets hero doc

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Kristy Sy­monds

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

RE­UNITED: Craig Bar­wick, Jus­tine Bar­wick and Dr John Hadok meet as part of an in­ter­view on The Sun­day Project.

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