Richard Wong She is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who will be speaking at the 2023 Australian Nurses and Midwives Conference about his experiences of, and reflections on, the response to the Whakaari/White Island volcanic explosion – and what can we apply from it when responding to other disasters.
Richard was the clinical leader for burns at the New Zealand National Burn Centre from its opening in 2006 until February 2022. He continues with all aspects of burn care, and is involved in both plastic surgery training and burn education as the Chair of the Emergency Management of Severe Burns Course of the Australian and New Zealand Burn Association.
He says that teamwork is key to good burn care, and on 9 December 2019 his team faced its greatest challenge to date when the Whakaari / White Island volcano erupted while almost 50 tourists were on the island. Twenty-two people were killed, and 25 survivors sustained critical and severe injuries – primarily burns.
Describe your presentation in a sentence:
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse… or, more sensibly: lessons from a major disaster applicable to everyday (healthcare) disasters.
What would be the one thing you’d want attendees to take away from your presentation?
Teamwork is everything.