A nurse's tribute from the front-line

20th April 2017 8:36 AM
The second medical team arriving in Proserpine from Townsville via Chinook. The second medical team arriving in Proserpine.

LEONIE Lovegrove is a clinical nurse consultant at the Emergency Department of the Townsville Hospital.

She was part of an emergency deployment to the Proserpine Hospital in the wake of Cyclone Debbie and has posted a tribute to the nursing staff there which has gone viral. Since April 5 her Facebook post has been shared almost 1200 times.

Here's part of her post:

The nurse who cried when we arrived because it meant she could go home to see her kids - she hadn't seen them since Cyclone Debbie, leaving for work before they woke and coming home from the hospital after their bedtime.

 

View from the chopper as we travelled from Townsville to Prosperpine. We travelled in an army MRH90. The weather rapidly deteriorated as we got closer to Proserpine.
View from the chopper as the team travelled from Townsville to Prosperpine.

 

The nurses caring for the elderly man found dehydrated and confused after Cyclone Debbie - his home destroyed.

The nurse who came to work despite losing the roof from her bedroom during the night - a wild storm in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

The nurse who had been there for 72 hours - along with many other staff.

The nurse who chose to leave her home at the beach to stay in town knowing she would be needed at the hospital during Cyclone Debbie and who, at the time of our arrival, had no idea if her home was intact or not.

Sleeping on the floor in the dental room. Absolute luxury all things considered.
Sleeping on the floor in the dental room: Absolute luxury.

 

The nurse who stayed with an elderly patient who was discharged from hospital before Cyclone Debbie, knowing that she would be scared and alone if the storm hit them - she spent 90 minutes using all of her strength to keep the back door closed after it flew open during the cyclone -- waiting for a break to move the fridge there instead.

The nurse who drove patients home before Cyclone Debbie and then had to drive back through rising flood waters - in her words, the scariest drive of her life.

The nurses who managed the patient who jimmied the hospital door open during Cyclone Debbie so he could have a cigarette and in doing so interrupted the airlock causing rain and debris to blow into the hospital.

The nurse who drove to the hospital during the eye of the cyclone knowing her colleagues and patients needed her more than her husband and children - her husband reluctantly and selflessly giving her his blessing to go and care for others.

 

About 2am on our first night. Trying to save medical records. Wild weather caused more damage. Water leaking from the ceiling everywhere.
At about 2am trying to save medical records.

 

The nurses who continued to care for their labouring patient while her husband went home to rescue his mother after their roof caved in -- water damage from torrential rain after Cyclone Debbie.

The nurse who helped pump 500 litres of fuel in a wild storm at 3am because the fuel pump to the emergency generator was broken - the night after Cyclone Debbie.

The nurse who had to sleep at the hospital after her night duty because she didn't have enough fuel to get home and then back again for her next shift - hoping she could buy some later in the day but no, fuel sold out within a few hours of the pumps opening.

 

Huddled in some shelter a few miles from Proserpine after a forced landing on the highway during a wild storm. Very happy to be alive!
Huddled in some shelter a few miles from Proserpine after a forced landing on the highway during a wild storm.

These are some of the people I worked with for a few days in Proserpine .

We were the medical relief team providing support for a few days.

They all have heart- wrenching stories of hardship and sacrifice.

They are nurses. Some call them angels. Mostly they are unsung heroes.