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Kids get on Right Track

11 December 2012

Kids get on Right Track

Grant Christey didn’t muck around when explaining to a bunch of young people what happens to car crash victims when they come into the Emergency Department.

The clinical director of trauma services at Waikato Hospital says the fact two of the people on the Right Track programme needed help after becoming faint during his presentation means it was real enough.

Dr Christey led the trauma team’s involvement in the latest Right Track programme, a joint effort by police, justice and other agencies to get young drivers who have come to their attention back on the right track.

The 20 course participants, each with a family support person, ended up at ED on Saturday morning, fresh from coming across a serious car “crash’’. While the event was staged by police, fire and ambulance staff, with some actors, the Right Track people didn’t know it.

From there they filed into an emergency department resus room for another eye-opener.

“This is what happens when you come in here with these sorts of trauma injuries. There’s no modesty, you’re laid bare while we work on you,” Dr Christey said.

His graphic explanations on a fellow Right Track youth – emphasising the size of the needles, tubes and cutting instruments and techniques – proven too much for a couple people who had to sit down.

This is the third programme to run in Hamilton and the second time the trauma team have been involved. “It is fairly confronting,” Dr Christey says. “We see a lot of trauma injury patients – 250 major trauma patients a year – and that’s way too high.”

The Waikato Hospital stopoff for the course included another hard-hitting component – a moving address by Jodin Laird.

The first thing people notice about Jodin is he has only one leg. Jodin’s van hit a truck in 2006 near Taupo and he spent five months in Waikato Hospital.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for three weeks, he had his jaw broken, 13 teeth smashed, his right leg smashed and broke his shoulder.

He’s doesn’t want other young people to go through what he did.

“I had five months here, and that was all bed-bound,” he says.

“I kept my injured leg for two years, but it was too much pain. I finally made the decision to get rid of it and I’m glad I did. It was useless.

“When the human body goes against car steel it doesn’t work.”

Right Track organiser John Finch set up the programme to educate vulnerable young people showing signs of adding the mayhem on the country’s roads. Most are there at the direction of the courts after being caught for boy racer behaviour or drink-driving.

It started in South Auckland in 2007, and the 42-hour programme runs over seven weeks uses real-life scenarios and presentations to make the offenders realise the dangers and consequences of their driving.

Mr Finch said police had reported that more than 80 per cent of young people who attended had not reoffended. “The changes in the young people and their families are enormous,” he said.

For more information of the Right Track programme see

About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato:

Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 372,865 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $1.2 billion and employs more than 6000 people.

Health Waikato is the DHB’s main provider of hospital and health services with an annual budget of more than $701 million and 5238 staff. It has six groups across five hospital sites, three primary birthing units, two continuing care facilities and 20 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.

A wide range of independent providers deliver other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories.


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