'Staunch' quake-injured kept going with broken bones

12:06 pm on 1 December 2016

People who suffered broken bones in the Kaikōura earthquake carried on for days without reporting injuries.

Kaikōura doctor Chris Henry has seen people with significant injuries at smaller centres outside the quake-hit town.

Chris Henry

Chris Henry has seen people with bones broken during the quake who didn't want to bother him for treatment. Photo: Supplied

At a health clinic north of the Kaikōura town, about a week after the 7.8 quake on 14 November, he treated four people with broken limbs who'd just carried on - some tidying up their properties.

"One guy had been fencing a week and thought 'bugger, my hand's still really sore'.

"And I said 'well, it's because it's broken'."

no caption

Kaikōura was badly damaged by the 7.8 magnitude quake. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Another person with a broken ankle had been walking on it for a week, and others had broken fingers.

He said the patients told him they hadn't wanted to bother him given how busy it was after the quake.

"People are so staunch," said Dr Henry. But it was better to seek treatment quickly to prevent injuries getting worse.

This morning he was flown by helicopter to Oaro, south of Kaikōura, to hold a health clinic and check everyone there was well.

Local fire chief Vern McAllister said there were eight or nine appointments for the clinic, which is being held in a caravan.

The doctor would also go to about six homes to visit elderly or incapacitated people.

"And I don't mean just physically - some of them are struggling mentally.

"Grown men crying.

"One bloke's lost his homestead, three generations he knows of have lived there."