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Terrorism on NZ anaesthetists’ agenda

August 22, 2005

Terrorism, earthquakes, tsunamis and epidemics on NZ anaesthetists’ agenda

Earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorism and epidemics are on the agenda at the New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists’ annual meeting in Nelson next month. These catastrophes have significant implications for anaesthetists, conference co-organiser Philip Cornish said today. ``It is timely that these real issues are on our agenda. One just needs to look around the world this past year to see their relevance.,’’ Dr Cornish said.

Mr Greg Phillips of emergency management at Wellington Hospital will discuss earthquakes and tsunamis and their damage patterns, with special reference to their effect on hospitals.

Dr Mace Ramsay, an intensivist from Dunedin, will talk about the post-tsunami response in Asia and NZ's preparedness for such an event. He was deployed to Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Professor Mike Murray of Mayo Clinic, Florida will look at the use of biological agents in modern terror attacks. He has just written a chapter on bioterrorism in an American textbook.

Dr Mark Thomas, one of NZ's foremost authorities on infectious diseases, will talk about threats by SARS, Avian flu and other pandemic infectious diseases. Several anaesthetists died from SARS after being involved in early treatment.

The meeting will likely also discuss the key issue of independent, autonomous practice for nurses in anaesthesia, as proposed by the nursing council, and opposed by anaesthetists.

The annual conference on September 14-17 is being run by the New Zealand Anaesthesia Education Committee. It is being cosponsored for the first time this year by the internationally renowned Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, USA. Other guest speakers include Michael Davies of St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Robert Sneyd from the University of Plymouth in England and James Sleigh of University of Auckland, Waikato Hospital Campus.


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