Christchurch hospital 'coping well' with patient load

1:45 am on 26 February 2011

Christchurch Hospital says it is coping well despite the massive increase in patients since Tuesday's earthquake.

Five theatres dealt with acute trauma patients on Wednesday, but just three have been needed on Friday.

More than 100 people have been seen by orthopaedic services since the 6.3-magnitude quake and orthopaedic surgeons from Wellington and Auckland will arrive within the next few days to assist.

Those with serious injures have been treated and transferred to centres for ongoing care.

The Emergency Department says injuries have tended to come in waves - within minutes of the quake people were turning up with blunt trauma injuries and lacerations and then they began treating people who had been crushed.

Acting clinical director Mike Ardagh says the department is used to busy times, but Tuesday was beyond anything it had experienced before.

There has been a steady flow of patients arriving at the hospital with minor injuries and medical problems such as chest pains.

Community health centre set up

Australian doctors and nurses have set up a community health centre in one of the areas worst-hit by the quake.

The Australian Army Field Hospital is normally erected in disaster zones in Australia but has been set up at Cowles Stadium in eastern Christchurch.

A nurse at the hospital says the tent can take up to 74 stretchers and is powered by generators. People should come to the field hospital with any condition that would normally require a visit to the GP.

The hospital is open from 8am on Saturday.

Hospitals postpone elective surgery

Canterbury District Health Board says all elective surgery in Christchurch - both public and private - has been postponed until 7 March at the earliest.

Alternative arrangements are being made for operations that cannot be deferred.

The DHB says the diabetes centre will close from Friday until further notice, but the diabetes team is offering a service for people who have unstable diabetes and cannot get to their GPs.

Forty-three patients on regular dialysis for kidney failure have been flown to Auckland for treatment at Middlemore Hospital.

Intellectually disabled evacuated

The director of a company which looks after the intellectually disabled says it is having difficulty caring for its clients and many are being evacuated.

Martros Ltd director Bernadette Martin, says her 15 clients are distressed by the earthquake and are finding it difficult to understand what has happened.

Ms Martin says staffing is stretched and three of the five houses she runs are unlivable. Some people in her care have been returned to their parents, who she says may have trouble looking after them, while the Ministry of Health has already evacuated others to Wellington.

Some mothers and newborns leave city

The DHB says neo-natal intensive care is busier than usual and babies may be transferred to other cities in case more need to be admitted.

Some pregnant women and new mothers are leaving the city.

Kate McKay of Domino Midwives says on Thursday alone, four of her clients left the city for Invercargill, Takaka, Marlborough and Dunedin.