A nurse who helped treat the victims of the Tasmanian jumping castle tragedy has spoken of horror felt by medical professionals and first responders on the day.
Six children died and two others are still fighting for life in hospital after falling 10 metres from a jumping castle blown into the air by a freak gust of wind during an end-of-year celebration at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport on December 16.
On Wednesday, health care workers from Mersey Community Hospital (MCH) consoled each other as they paid their respects outside the school.
The Nurse Break Facebook page has shared the words of a nurse from MCH who was working on the day of the tragedy.
Health care workers from Mersey Community Hospital console each other as they pay their respects outside Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania on Wednesday December 22, 2021. Six children were killed at the school last week, when a jumping castle was picked up an estimated 10 metres by a powerful gust of wind
A security officer salutes as health care workers from Mersey Community Hospital pay their respects outside Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania, Wednesday, December 22, 2021
‘I’m reaching out on behalf of the medical teams who worked our hearts out for these children and their families,’ the nurse said.
‘I’m a nurse who just happened to be on shift on Thursday as the code brown was called.
‘The ED (Emergency Department) was frantic preparing bays for incoming trauma in a facility that has never seen this kind of event.’
The nurse praised her colleagues for their professionalism and dedication.
‘All I can say [is] the way this hospital pulled it together was phenomenal and I have gratitude to the health professionals who came in to help when the alert about the jumping castle tragedy went out.
‘The dedication, selflessness, professionalism and heart that every single person who attended the ED went above and beyond their calling.’
The nurse said some doctors from other hospitals who were driving to a weekend away turned around to help.
‘Nurses came in on their day off to lend a hand. The teams from other areas of the hospital arrived with equipment and expertise.’
The nurse also praised the counsellors and administration staff who did things such as passing equipment to nurses and handing out water bottles to people who had been wearing full personal protective equipment for hours.
Pictured left to right are Zane Mellor, 12, Peter Dodt, 12, Addison Stewart, 11, Jye Sheehan, 12 Jalailah Jayne-Marie Jones, 12, and Chace Harrison, 11, who have been identified by police, with permission from family, as the children tragically killed in a jumping castle accident at a primary school in north-west Tasmania
The injured children were later transferred to Royal Hobart Hospital.
The nurse spoke of the tears shed by Mersey Community Hospital staff when they heard some children had died, and their relief that one was better off than they initially had thought.
‘The paramedics that went back and forth and then did the transfers,’ the nurse said.
‘The police there to help. Radiologists moving the mobile x-ray from bay to bay to bay as different doctors called out for imaging, and the CT staff and pathology who we couldn’t see.
Distraught police officers (pictured) at the scene of the jumping castle tragedy in Devonport, Tasmania
Two children are still fighting for life after falling from an airborne jumping castle at Hillcrest Primary School, in Devonport, last Thursday. Emergency services workers are pictured at the scene on the tragedy
The nurse also said the hospital’s pharmacy had a pharmacist in the medication room to make sure we they didn’t run out of any supplies.
The two survivors still in hospital remain in critical but stable conditions as they recover from blunt force trauma, multiple broken bones and internal injuries.
Addison Stewart, 11, Zane Mellor, 12, Jye Sheehan, 12, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, 12, Peter Dodt, 12, and Chace Harrison, 11, were celebrating their last day of Year 6 when their lives were tragically cut short.
On Monday, their classmate Beau Medcraft, who narrowly escaped death after being thrown off the jumping castle, returned to the scene of the horror incident for the first time to pay respect to his peers.
Beau Medcraft (pictured) narrowly escaped death after being thrown off the jumping castle
The 12-year-old left Xbox controllers as a tribute to his friends at the memorial outside the school’s front gates.
With both arms in casts and his shoulder in a sling, Beau placed the controllers among the sea of flowers and cards left by families and members of the local community.
He then broke down as he hugged his parents. Beau, along with 39 other witnesses, will be interviewed by Tasmania police and specialist child interviewers from NSW as part of Coronial investigations into the tragedy.