Hospital staff set up critical-care demo

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 08:22 14/06/2012

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A young Manawatu farmer cannot believe she has made it to Fieldays after the tractor she was driving was hit by a train three months ago.

Jennifer Hughes, 18, still bears the scars and limp from the accident in which her tractor was hit by a 1000-tonne, 500-metre-long freight train.

"I was driving the tractor over the crossing which was uncontrolled and the train came round a blind corner; there wasn't much I could do," she said.

Miss Hughes and her fiance, dairy farmer Jake Short, yesterday relived the dramatic events of the past three months with Waikato Hospital clinical nurse manager Colleen Hartley.

Mrs Hartley is working with other Waikato Hospital staff at a mock critical-care scene at Fieldays, set up in conjunction with Waikato police.

"We have a mock crash where the driver has hit a wandering cow in thick fog and has been brought to us here in the critical-care unit," she said. It was a stark lesson for road users to see the crash and hospital scene.

"It's not like they can come into our real critical-care unit and see what goes on, and people are genuinely very interested, asking lots of questions – particularly a lot of young people, which is a good thing," Mrs Hartley said.

For Miss Hughes and Mr Short the scene was a reminder of their recent experience.

Miss Hughes suffered multiple trauma injuries including a broken foot, pubic bone, pelvis and ribs, punctured organs, and a collapsed lung.

"This is basically what I was doing for weeks," said Mr Short as he looked over the critical-care scene at Fieldays.

"I was the one sitting in the chair wondering what was going to happen and [Jenn] was the one lying in the bed with all of those machines around her."

The couple are working on a date to get married next year.

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- Waikato Times

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