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  • davidbartle

Fiji March 2016

On 20 February 2016 catergory 5 tropical cyclone Winston hit Fiji causing massive devastation. I was invited to join the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team response. It was great to be working with a team of like-minded NZMAT professionals in a surgical deployment and also catching up with and working alongside a number of surgical colleague friends from Fiji. We worked closely with the NZ Defence Force and this was the biggest NZDF deployment in the Pacific since WWII. Our biggest team challenge was how to best integrate our surgical nurses into the existing operating theatre operations. We didn't necessarily find the optimal solution to this problem every day but our nurses worked hard to help in all aspects of theatre nursing and helped with a myriad of other tasks including stocktaking and re-organisation of equipment. The resilience of the Fijian population to simply get up off the floor and get straight back into life after such a massive natural disaster event left a lasting impression. For me personally this was a very satisfying deployment given the huge demand for orthopaedic services. VP

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