Critically sick man evacuated from Pitcairn Island by boat
The Governor of Pitcairn Island says a man who was sucessfully evacuated by longboat from the territory was in a life or death situation.
The Governor of Pitcairn Island says a man successfully evacuated by longboat from the territory was in a life or death situation.
A three week old wound from a thorn had become toxic and the man spent 34 hours in a longboat as part of his journey to a hospital in Tahiti over the weekend.
The Island's Governor and British High commissioner to New Zealand, Vicki Treadell, told Daniela Maoate-Cox the evacuation was a challenge to organise.
VICKI TREADELL: When the patient became ill, the doctor took the decision that he needed urgent medical treatment. Literally, I do think it was an issue of life or death because Pitcairn is very remote and whilst we have a small clinic and a full time doctor on the island, for serious surgery we need to get people off the island. Our first challenge of course, with Pitcairn is that it's so remote and so distant and this illness presented itself in the period when our supply ship was on its way back to New Zealand. So we put out an urgent call to see if there were any passing ships, when it became clear that there wasn't anyone, the decision was taken that we needed to deploy the two long boats that are on the island.
DANIELA MAOATE-COX: What was he suffering from?
VT: I can't really go into the details obviously because of medical confidentiality but he needed urgent medical care with regards to a problem that he had that could have resulted in serious amputation or death.
DMC: And have you had an update on his condition now, is he doing ok?
VT: Yes, he is in hospital in Papeete in Tahiti and is being seen by the specialists who are now treating his condition so hopefully we have caught this problem in time and he should be ok.
DMC: And when they first notified you that he needed help and needed to be taken to another hospital, how did they get in touch?
VT: Well of course we have a phone connection, so I actually got a phone call from my deputy governor who is based in Auckland who keeps in day to day touch with the island. I have an officer on the island and then I was contacted to be kept informed and indeed when the final call had to be made about deploying the long boats, to get my confirmation that that is what we should do.
DMC: So overall you would say the whole evacuation was a success?
VT: Yes it's remarkable what we've achieved in quite a tight time frame so overall a huge success, collaboration between the British Government, my team in Auckland, on the island, the islanders themselves, medical advice and expertise both here in New Zealand and in the UK.
Vicki Treadell says the cost of the evacuation will be covered by the British Government.
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