RIGHT PLACE: Dr John Hadok was on a nearby boat and provided assistance to Justine Barwick.
RIGHT PLACE: Dr John Hadok was on a nearby boat and provided assistance to Justine Barwick. Claudia Alp

Doctor reveals what happened following shark attack

Dr John Hadok was about to jump into the water at Cid Harbour to cool off on Wednesday evening when he was called on to help a nearby shark bite victim.

The Mackay Base Hospital emergency doctor was picked up in a dinghy by people on another boat in the harbour who were frantically going around to all the boats to see if there were any medical staff nearby after Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick was bitten by a shark off Whitsunday Island around 5pm.

Dr Hadok admitted to being very worried once he got onboard the Barwick's boat.

"When I saw her I was very concerned she may not survive," he said.

"She had severe life-threatening injuries.

"She had clearly lost a lot of blood.

"And she lost consciousness at one stage."

However, he had nothing but praise for the 46-year-old's husband and others onboard the boat who applied compression packs to the wound on Mrs Barwick's right leg.

"First aid was applied excellently," he said.

"I couldn't believe how well they had done."

Dr Hadok praised Mrs Barwick's demeanour throughout the ordeal.

"She was very frightened," she said.

"She was very brave.

"She was asking very rational questions and telling us about the severe pain she was in."

Dr Hadok worked with others on the boat to keep Mrs Barwick conscious, before transferring her to a rubber dinghy to await the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter's pick-up

He put into action his skills as a former RACQ CQ retrieval doctor as he helped connect the winch rope from the helicopter to Mrs Barwick.

Dr Hadok said the winch was also a dangerous part of the rescue as Mrs Barwick had to be moved into a sitting position, from laying with her legs elevated.

He said he was pleased to hear Mrs Barwick had made it to Mackay Base Hospital, where she remained in a critical condition today.

Dr Hadok is fast developing a reputation among his colleagues for having his skills called on during out of work hours, after having also helped injured hikers on other occasions.

"My colleagues and friends joke you are very unlucky or you are in the right place at the right time," he said.

The shark attack on Mrs Barwick was the first of two attacks in Cid Harbour within the space of 20 hours.

A 12-year-old girl was also bitten by a shark just before 2pm today and was in a critical but stable condition when picked up by the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter.


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