Helping hand for quake victims
by Michèle Nardelli
Last year when a group of staff from Yakkum Bethesda Hospital in Yogyarkarta visited UniSA, no one could have predicted that almost 12 months later they would be struggling to save lives in extraordinarily difficult conditions following a massive earthquake in that city.
In a period of two years, the Indonesian people have lurched from the aftermath of the tsunami, to earthquake and another tsunami.
UniSA’s senior lecturer in nursing and midwifery Helen Bradley is in regular contact with Regina Holle, a colleague working in the hospital. This extract from a recent correspondence paints a striking picture of the crisis following the quake in June.
"The conditions are serious. Many patients have no bed, mattress or even something to lie on. Some use a piece of newspaper and some lie on the floor without anything. All floors and public rooms are full… in front of the operating theatre an almost never ending queue of patients waiting for their operation.
"Our rehabilitation centre, Yakkum Pusat Rehabilitasi, which normally cares for handicapped children, has just become the main centre for rehabilitation in this big disaster. No other institution can provide comprehensive rehabilitation.
"Because of our long experience, we are very important for all the earthquake victims, especially the paraplegia and parapareses patients. In the biggest government hospital there are 129 paraplegia patients. This is incredibly sad and means that we will probably have more than 200 paraplegia patients after the earthquake.
"I still cannot imagine how all these patients can be cared for. They cannot be brought home quickly because all of them have lost their houses and living in tents is not possible. At the moment, we care for eight paraplegia patients, more than 20 patients with parapareses and the rest with difficult open fractures and difficult wounds."
Bradley and staff in the School of Nursing and Midwifery are hoping to raise funds to support their friends and colleagues at Yakkum Bethesda Hospital for ongoing work with the victims of the earthquake. Donations can be delivered to Campus Central offices citing account number 82405. All donations will then be transferred directly to the hospital.