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Update from Christchurch Hospital re terror attack

Monday 18 March 2019

Please attribute comment to David Meates, Chief Executive, Canterbury District Health Board

We currently have 31 patients who were injured in the mosque attacks in Christchurch Hospital. Two people were well enough to go home and have been discharged today. There are still 9 people in a critical condition in intensive care.

We continue to transfer any that are well enough to go to other wards as we can. People injured in the mosque attacks are our priority for surgery and other specialist care over the coming days. There is still a 4 year old girl in a critical conditionin Starship Hospital in Auckland, transferred there on Saturday. Her father has also been transferred to Auckland and remains in a serious but stable condition.

Christchurch Hospital has good capacity at present and we are well-staffed, but we are also conscious that many of our people have worked long hours and will have been profoundly affected by this tragedy too. We need to look after them so they can look after you.

We are still asking the public to appreciate the additional workload on all of our health system staff. The hospital is extremely busy, as is primary care – you should continue to make your general practice team your first point of call for all non-urgent care. Call the usual general practice number 24/7 and after hours, you can get advice from a nurse – they will tell you what to do and where to go if you need to be seen.

Today we are running all available acute theatres for the many people who need follow-up surgery or procedures due to the complex nature of their injuries.

This means that we are postponing a significant number of surgeries planned for Cantabrians and others to free up theatre space and surgical teams today. To those who have had their surgery postponed, thank you in advance for your generosity and understanding.

Outpatient appointments are going ahead as planned.

As the majority of us return to work and school today, it’s probably more important than ever that we connect, share our thoughts and experiences, and help each other process what has happened. Spend time with people you love and talk about how you’re feeling. Consider taking a digital detox and take a break from social media. Instead, focus on an activity you love or on the people around you.

Look after yourself and those around you and remember that people cope in different ways. Disasters and tragedies take their toll and our resilient Canterbury people have been through much in recent times. For some that may make things easier because of the coping skills they have learned, but for others it may bring back unwelcome feelings or add to their anxiety. Feeling on edge and upset right now is a completely normal reaction. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, so allow yourselves time and be kind to yourself and others – a simple kind act or generosity of spirit and the support you give others might come at just the right time to make all the difference to them.

Supporting our kids and whānau • Children take their cues of parents — so if you’re okay, they’ll be okay too...

• Be mindful how much ‘worry’ you’re displaying, just be as cool as you can!

• Keep children away from the media.

• Answer their questions pretty matter-of-factly and in very ‘general’ terms. Drama it down. You don’t have to get the answers exactly right here. Ensure you talk too about the police and how they did a really good job of keeping us safe. Keep the reassurance low key too — over-reassuring can make us think we need to be worrying more than we are!

• Let them talk about it, but don’t let it ‘take over’ - use distraction to keep their mind off it • Stick to your normal routines as much as you can.

If you want to talk to a trained counsellor, you can phone or text 1737 to be put through to a counsellor any time of the day or night. This is a free service for everyone.


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