Mosque victims spend 19,500 hours in hospital, 3000 in ICU
From Checkpoint, 5:23 pm on 10 June 2019
Logan Church , South Island Checkpoint Reporter
Up to 15 people injured in the mosque shootings will need to have ongoing surgery for years, Canterbury DHB (CDHB) says.
It has been almost three months since the attacks in Christchurch and so far nearly 120 people have been treated for their injuries.
The ongoing surgeries are not only having a huge impact on the lives of the victims but are placing a strain on the hospital system itself.
Temel Atacocugu was shot nine times at Al Noor Mosque on 15 March - making it impossible for him to walk or move easily.
While he has recovered from initial surgery which enabled him to get out and about again, he has returned to Burwood Hospital for a bone graft.
"This time [it's] for my left arm, which has a missing piece of bone," he told Checkpoint from his hospital bed.
Temel Atacocugu is one of those receiving ongoing treatment after he was shot nine times in the Christchurch mosque attacks earlier this year. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church
Bone was harvested from his left hip to replace the missing piece of bone in his left arm.
But Mr Atacocugu was only one of many requiring ongoing surgery.
"Of the patients we've had out in the community there are quite a number of them which have had ... damage control procedures," CDHB chief of surgeries Greg Robertson said.
"We would estimate that there are 10 to 15 people who will require further surgical intervention over the years," he said.
Canterbury District Health Board chief of
surgeries Greg Robertson.
Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers
Aside from the initial 48 patients who arrived at the emergency department on the day, CDHB said another 70 patients arrived with minor injuries in the following weeks.
Since the attacks, 88 operations had been performed with 51 of these during the first weekend.
All victims have spent a combined 19,566 hours in hospital wards, plus 3123 hours in ICU.
One person remains in Burwood Hospital permanently - but in a stable condition.
Mr Robertson said hundreds of unrelated surgeries had been deferred since the attacks, but it was now "business as usual".