Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said, with two more patients expected
to be repatriated today, the commitment and skills of all health
staff involved was incredible.
“Even as we continue to mourn the loss of our fellow
Australians, our focus in the NSW Health system is on treating the
critical injuries suffered by those now in our care,” Dr Chant said.
“Five patients are being treated at Concord Hospital, and three patients
are being treated at Royal North Shore Hospital, with two more on the way home
“There is no other place I would rather see these patients treated than
at these two hospitals, whose world-class clinical care gives us with the best chance to save lives.”
Haertsch, Head of Department of Operating Theatres and Plastic Surgery, Concord
State-wide Burns Service, said treating volcano burns presented many
“The patients under our care have been exposed to a fast-moving cloud of
very hot volcanic gas and volcanic matter such as pumice and ash,” Dr Haertsch
“As a result,
they have suffered severe contact skin burns with severe injuries due to
inhalation of gas and ash, and we are looking at extensive and intensive care for these patients, some of whom are still in
a life-threatening condition.
“Once again, I commend
the skills and co-operation of New Zealand
health authorities, who have
provided excellent immediate care when this tragedy occurred,” he said.
Dr Chant also
said NSW Health's Organ and Tissue
Donation Service has provided a large volume, 10,000 cm2, of skin to New
Zealand to assist with the management of burns
victims in consultation with the State and National
Disaster Coordination teams.
“I assure the community that NSW has skin available to treat those burns
patients being repatriated to NSW as well as potential bush fire burns
injuries,” she said.
Skin is donated
by deceased donors.
NSW Health would like to recognise these donors as
their skin is now being used to help the patients being treated in New Zealand
and those being returned to NSW for treatment.