Christchurch Hospital has dealt with more than 200 major-trauma patients since Tuesday's magnitude 6.3 earthquake but has not been able to save the lives of all of those arriving for treatment.
The acting head of the emergency department, Mike Ardagh, says they initially got people who had been injured by things like falling debris, but since then it's been those rescued from the rubble.
He says there have been a wide range of injuries.
Up to midnight Tuesday, 220 major-trauma patients had been treated.
Patients with serious injuries have been transferred from Christchurch to Auckland, Wellington, Waikato and Hastings.
Dunedin and Invercargill hospitals are expecting patients from Christchurch Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
The incident controller for the Southern District Health Board, Leanne Samuel, says the hospitals have postponed non-urgent surgery, and smaller hospitals in Oamaru, Gore, Balclutha and Queenstown have extra beds if needed.
She says the DHB is sending a group of public health nurses to Christchurch on Wednesday afternoon.
Christchurch Hospital is also planning to transfer 40 patients to other local public and private hospitals over the next 24 hours, the aim being to free up space for patients coming in.