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"We were just doing our job" : Whitsunday Family Practice

Whitsunday Family Practice medical staff Melissa McCann, Tori Scotman, Jacqui Price, Deb Windsor and Kate Hindle were just some of the medical staff that helped the community with a makeshift hospital in the direct aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
Whitsunday Family Practice medical staff Melissa McCann, Tori Scotman, Jacqui Price, Deb Windsor and Kate Hindle were just some of the medical staff that helped the community with a makeshift hospital in the direct aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. Jacob Wilson

THE staff at Whitsunday Family Practice don't consider themselves heroes - but in the eyes of their local community they are.

While Dr Melissa McCann, Emma Hinschen and others had severely damaged houses to attend to in the wake of TC Debbie, their priority of establishing a pop-up makeshift hospital was just a matter of them "doing their job".

Doctor McCann said she and everyone involved in the medical centre were not after recognition, but were only interested in fulfilling their medical duty.

"It was a job that needed to be done. There are so many other people doing great things out there who helped others and had done so much," she said.

Dr McCann said the medical pop up hospital was a team effort, with medical workers across the community contributing.

"The way all the staff came in here together was amazing, half of them had damage to their own homes and issues with their own families but they came in and and helped out," she said.

"It was an enormous amount of work to be done and also the doctors and nurses who aren't affiliated with our (Whitsunday Family) Practice also came in and gave a hand."

Dr McCann said the memory which would stay with her forever was the moment she was surrounded with patients and doctors in every treatment room while a constant stream of stretchers flowed through the door.

The makeshift hospital provided a drop off point for ambulance workers to take patients while the road to the Proserpine Hospital was blocked off in the immediate aftermath of the Cyclone.

Dr McCann stressed it wasn't just her and fellow medical personnel who made the facility possible, with community donations making all the difference to giving them the tools required to help those in need.

"The community were sourcing fuel and generators and were donating everything from food, towels and pillows," she said.

"We wouldn't have been able to do it if we didn't have the fuel donations, the generators would have gone out."

Dr McCann also said her husband Jared played an instrumental role, bringing food, fuel and even the army to supply the water required to flush their toilets.

The medical staff dealt with a heavy workload of attending to people who sustained lacerations, dog bites and cuts with the most serious medical issue being a severe spinal injury.


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