Qld burns surgeons on standby to help volcano victims

THREE Queensland burns surgeons are on standby to fly to New Zealand to assist in the treatment of people seriously injured in the White Island volcano eruption.

Brisbane surgeons are ready to help fatigued New Zealand doctors care for the victims of the tragedy, who have inhalation injuries from breathing in volcanic ash and severe burns.

Brisbane is renowned as a centre for burns expertise.

Burns surgeons spend many hours in the operating theatre, working in high temperatures, and New Zealand surgeons are understood to be overwhelmed with the severity of burns injuries that have occurred as a result of the volcanic blast.

RAAF of crews dispatched to New Zealand to repatriate victims of the White Island volcano eruption back to Australia. Source: Australian Defence Force.
RAAF of crews dispatched to New Zealand to repatriate victims of the White Island volcano eruption back to Australia. Source: Australian Defence Force.

Theatre temperatures for burns patients are set at up to 39 degrees to provide the optimal environment for patients who have lost large amounts of skin, rendering them unable to keep themselves warm.

Burns specialists have been dubbed the endurance athletes of the medical world because of the extreme conditions in which they work.

Rescuers of people involved in the White Island disaster on Monday have said survivors ran into the sea to escape the scalding steam and ash from the volcanic blast and emerged covered in burns.

The decision to provide Queensland burns surgeons if they are needed comes as five Australian survivors of the tragedy, which has killed at least eight people, have been repatriated to hospital burns units in Sydney and Melbourne, with more on the way.

Ten Australians remain missing, presumed dead, after the blast.


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