Local nurse among elite chosen to help New Zealand volcano victims

Local nurse among elite chosen to help New Zealand volcano victims
Lucy Hall

Lucy Hall, Deputy Matron of the Burns Unit at Queen Victoria Hospital [QVH], is one of only four nurses in the UK to be picked to fly to Auckland.

She will spend a month assisting the nurses there, who have been working around the clock since the eruption on December 9.

The White Island volcano is known to have killed 18 people, while 27 more sustained burns to over 30 per cent of their body – with some of them suffering 90 to 95 per cent burns.

The Chief Medical Officer at Middlemore Hospital, Dr Peter Watson, called the disaster ‘extraordinarily challenging’, adding: “We had never experienced multiple serious burns on this scale.”

Such is the workload for those taking care of them that the country’s Government stepped in and asked for international support.

Lucy, who has worked as a specialist burns nurse since 2016, discovered she was chosen to go to Middlemore Hospital’s National Burns Centre, after QVH received a call.

She said: “I’m a nurse first and foremost, and want to be there to help and make a difference.

“When the request came through for burns nurses to travel out, I was intrigued to know how they were working with their patients – as a small island there are definitely similarities to the UK.

“The nurses have been working flat out with their patients, so much of my role will be to support them and hopefully help relieve some of the pressure.”

She added: “Although the cause of their burns from volcanic ash is different from what we treat at the Queen Victoria Hospital, I know from the experience I have gained here that I have the skills and confidence to help make a difference.

“I think there is a lot that I can learn and bring back to my team, to benefit our patients and practice.”

Jo Thomas, QVH’s Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “We’re delighted that Lucy has been chosen as one of only four nurses from the UK to support our colleagues in New Zealand.

“As a specialist burns unit, our expertise is often called upon to help respond to emergencies in the UK, so this will be a fantastic opportunity for Lucy to use her skills to really make a difference.”


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