Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to Story Week so far. Continuing with our theme of “leadership”, today we are featuring a story from Dr Fiona Wood, who was recognised as “Australian of the Year” for her work after the Bali Bombings. And we’d still like to hear your ideas for Friday’s story.
When I saw the burns patients and I saw that we needed something radical to actually cover these large areas, that had to be more… They had to be smarter than traditional split-thickness skin grafting. We had to be able to do this better. And that was, I guess, the gauntlet that I threw down to myself. On the Sunday morning after the Bali bombing I got a call from the registrar, who is a very close friend of my senior registrar, who actually on Saturday had left for his holiday to Bali. Our first patients arrived in the early hours of the morning and they were the most severe patients, the most severely injured. And my overwhelming memory of that is the relief on their faces as they arrived at Royal Perth and spoke to us just before they were incubated for ventilation and for the treatment to commence, that relief on their faces. We were full at the time, so we started putting our disaster plan into action. And as the Sunday developed it became apparent that there was going to be a significant need, not just for the Perth Burns Unit but for the Australian Burns community as a whole. When the Bali bombing situation arose we did in fact deal with 15% of our annual workload in a day, but it’s the sort of situation that we’ve been training for a long period of time and when you’re involved in it and actually active in doing things it’s a very motivating situation because you are able to influence those lives, not always to a positive outcome but we did our best.