Summer in New Zealand

The New Zealand summer runs from December to February inclusive. At midnight on the 30th of November, the following rules come into effect:

1) the entire population must spend as much of the summer at the beach as possible

2) Living in New Zealand for more than three days qualifies you to operate a powerboat or yacht

3) alcohol hones your water safety skills and judgement

4) wearing life jackets, using fins with your bodyboard, swimming between the flags, and using dive decompression tables are all signs of weakness

Here is someone from Christchurch who clearly believes rules 1,2,3, and part of 4:

With these rules in mind, here are some slide sets regarding pathology that we may have to deal with over the summer:

Key issues for Auckland HEMS:

1) The hyperbaric chamber is at the Devonport Naval Base. They have minimal medical equipment and DO NOT have the capability to receive critically ill patients directly from the prehospital setting (I have discussed this with them before!). Critically ill patients will require transport to hospital with a subsequent trip to the decompression chamber.

2) our helicopter is not pressurised – transportation of patients with DCS or AGE should occur below 1000 feet of altitude

The contact number for the decompression physician (24 hours) is 0800 4 DES 111

Patients with submersion injuries may have been treated by Surf Lifesaving New Zealand. A link showing the tiers of Surf Lifesaving prehospital medical care is here. They may have access to AEDs, oxygen, monitoring, and cervical collars, but do not generally have access to advanced airway management.