Working in chaos. Rebecca Porton-Whitworth

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At 1.40pm on the 15th March 2019 a lone gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in Riccarton, Christchurch and opened fire during Friday prayers.  He then drove to the Linwood Islamic Centre again shooting those engaged in prayer.
The attacks ultimately killed 51 people and injured 49.
This presentation covers a reflection from a perioperative clinical nurse specialist on the many challenges faced by the perioperative team in managing and caring for the mass casualties from the Christchurch mosque shootings which was published in the Dissector in March 2020.  This presentation was prepared and presented at the Tongariro Cardiac Meeting in March 2021.
It addresses the mass casualty response by CDHB, flow of patients through the operating theatre, patient identification, forensic specimen collection, responses by different members of the perioperative team including sterile services and our operating theatre assistants.  As well as addressing communication and wellbeing.


The second part of the presentation looks at working in chaos. Again, this is based on an article published in the Dissector in March, 2020.  Mass casualty events are a global phenomenon which tests major trauma systems.  Each incident poses different challenges and injuries from differing environments.  It is important that we learn through debriefing and sharing of information so that lessons learnt can be incorporated into future planning.  An established trauma system delivers a continuum of care for patients and provides a synchronised approach to trauma care offered by first responders, hospitals, community providers and government (HQSC, 2019).  The outcome results in lives being saved, reduced disabilities and a more effective healthcare system.

It addresses the effects of Terrorism on the Healthcare Community and The Aftermath.
There are several key phases to recognise by medical staff in their response following a terrorist incident.

Phase 1: Chaos

Phase 2: Casualty receiving phase

Phase 3: Consolidation

Phase 4: Definite Care

Phase 5: Rehabilitation

Staff Support

Rebecca RComp, BHSc, MNurs (Hons) has worked extensively for nearly thirty years within the perioperative environment working in a variety of specialties and roles.  She graduated from Christchurch Polytechnic in 1992 and has work within the public and private sector in New Zealand as well as overseas.  This is where she developed her passion for cardiothoracic surgery working in both the paediatric and adult acute and acquired congenital.  She has continued a variety of postgraduate education and is tertiary qualified at Masters Level with First Class Honours.  This set her on a new path working as a Registered Nurse First Surgical Assistant within the cardiothoracic specialty.   She is currently working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Theatres at Christchurch Public Hospital and continues to work as an RNFSA.  She has also been involved in volunteer work with the Mutima Project which travelled to Zambia to perform heart surgery and the Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation.  She joined the Dissector editorial team in 2019.