8 Oct 2012

Bali bombing pain still lingers

10:10 am on 8 October 2012

Doctors who helped treat the wounded in the Bali bombing 10 years ago say they are still emotionally affected by what they saw.

Former Australian of the Year Fiona Wood says she and other medical personnel who worked the night of the first Bali bombing a decade ago are still affected by it.

Professor Wood, who worked at Royal Perth Hospital where some of the wounded were flown after the bombing on 12 October, 2002, said the event still affected her emotionally.

AAP reports she told the War and Disaster 2012 conference in Darwin that she thought she was over the trauma of what she had seen, but later learned that perhaps she wasn't.

Professor Wood said she found herself crying when she recently heard a survivor of the bombing talk.

"With respect to the health professionals who work in this field, it is a rollercoaster," she told AAP after her presentation. "Some days you are down, some days you are up," she said.

AAP reports Royal Perth Hospital treated 28 of the victims of the bombing.

During the crisis Professor Wood said her response was to work hard, because by doing things she was able to cope and keep moving forward.

"I think the challenge comes when that stops and you listen as I did 10 years on and I thought `whoa, I was part of that'," she said.

Professor Wood was named Australian of the Year in 2005 for her revolutionary work in the field of burns treatment.

Rocky time for surgeon

Dr David Read, a surgeon who travelled to Bali to help treat survivors the day after the bombing on 12 October, 2002, also said he was impacted by what he saw.

"It was a pretty rocky 18 months for me after that," Dr Read said.

He said he knew other medical personnel who had struggled to cope with what they had seen.

"One bloke I met over there went right off the rails and got PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) after all of this. He was a medic," he said.

Sanglah Hospital chief executive Dr Wayan Sutarga of Bali, said he didn't like to recall the events of the night of the bombing. "It is still painful for us," he said.

The conference in Darwin is being held ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Bali Bombing on Friday.

A total of 202 people were killed: including 88 Australians, 32 Indonesians, 24 Britons and three New Zealanders.