Media release 30 January 2020 | Counties Manukau Health has acknowledged the generosity of the community and companies who responded to calls for support in the wake of the Whakaari/White Island tragedy.
“The volcanic eruption at Whakaari/White Island six weeks ago set in motion a massive national and international response, with the National Burn Service hosted at Middlemore Hospital a key part of the response,” says National Burn Service coordinator, Tracey Perrett.
“We were overwhelmed with offers of help, from members of the public and local businesses who offered food and accommodation, to the significant donations to the National Burn Centre, made through the Middlemore Foundation.
“It did not end there. We had assistance from fellow DHBs and suppliers who donated, or made available, instruments and equipment to assist with the response to the crisis. These included a theatre table and instruments, ultrasounds, ventilators, Meshe and bioquell machines.”
Dr Vanessa Thornton, Clinical Director Emergency Department and Middlemore Central, says the other two regional DHBs, Auckland and Waitemata, also stepped up to take the pressure off Middlemore Hospital by taking on additional CM Health patients, particularly those requiring hand and some other acute surgical operations.
“This assistance, which lasted several weeks until Middlemore Hospital could resume elective surgeries, was essential to enable the ICU, the National Burn Centre and surgery as a whole to focus on the extensive needs of the Whakaari/White Island victims.
Dr Thornton says Canterbury DHB has also offered support for our patients with spinal injury and CM Health continues to have ongoing support from the other three burns units located in Waikato, Upper Hutt and Christchurch. She said Counties Manukau Health was thankful to all other DHBs and private hospitals who had also offered up assistance, including staff.
“Patients face a long road to recovery. Their burn injuries are extensive and six weeks on, they are still coming to terms with what has happened and looking at what is still to come.”
Donations made through the Middlemore Foundation have so far reached $100,000 and will go directly towards providing additional equipment and resources to better support patients and their families now and into the future.
“So many people and companies went above and beyond to help with the response. The spirit of generosity has been incredible,” says Ms Perrett.
“We want to acknowledge and thank everyone who supported this massive effort and did not hesitate to put their hand up and offer what was needed to enable us to respond effectively.”