Doctor?s Bali horror relived
By EMMA CORNFORD
WHEN bombs exploded in Bali on Saturday night, Royal Darwin Hospital medical director Len Notaras and his team swung into action, ready to tend to victims of the explosions.
They had been through this before ? in October 2002 with the first Bali attacks ? and had a well-rehearsed plan in place to deal with the emerging casualties.
Dr Notaras, related to the Clarence Valley's well-known Notaras family, said as of yesterday afternoon 23 patients, including 20 Australians, two Japanese and one Indonesian, had been transferred to Darwin in conditions ranging from critical to serious but stable.
"Some of them have suffered from the less serious trauma, but a number of them have suffered severely from lacerations and ... debris," he said.
"Looking at the victims, it's not like a bullet wound where there's one bullet, but it's 10, 20 or even 30 pellets or projectiles. The devices which were used are more like landmines in that they are made to kill as many as possible in the first instance, secondly to maim as many as possible and then thirdly to make people afraid."
Dr Notaras said the feeling around the hospital at the moment was predominantly one of shock.
"Last time I think there was more shock, but a lot of people are still in shock this time. It's deja vu for many of us," he said.
"With 'Bali One', Australia and a lot of other places lost an innocence (and) it's a similar feeling now.
"It's stuff we've been through once, but it's surreal to go through it again."
As a result of his work during 'Bali One', Dr Notaras received a number of awards including an Order of Australia and the prestigious Australian Medical Association's award for Best Individual Contribution to Healthcare in Australia.
While humbled by those awards, Dr Notaras said his job was simply to look after the victims transported to his hospital in the best way possible.
"I'm never complacent about it because it's what I do, my team by my side, and we just want to save as many people as we can and cause the least amount of pain to everyone.
"You're always prepared to do this, but there's two kinds of preparedness ? there is being prepared in practice but then there's the willpower to do it and help your fellow man ... and that's simply what we're doing."