Bay surgeon using skills to rebuild lives

1 comment
Orthopaedic surgeon Vaughan Poutawera of Tauranga on a mission with the NZ Medical Assistance team in Suva, Fiji in March. Photo/supplied
Orthopaedic surgeon Vaughan Poutawera of Tauranga on a mission with the NZ Medical Assistance team in Suva, Fiji in March. Photo/supplied

Tauranga orthopaedic surgeon Vaughan Poutawera served on the largest deployment of the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team (NZMAT) in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston.

Mr Poutawera was one of 17 people deployed in four teams in March to treat patients who suffered storm-related injuries.

For two weeks, he and his team handled fractured femurs, infected wounds and complications of wounds due to diabetes.

"It's an epidemic in Fiji as in a lot of parts in the Pacific," he said. The surgeon also reconstructed tendons, plated broken bones and debrided (removed tissue from) infected wounds.

Orthopaedic surgeon Vaughan Poutawera of Tauranga. Photo/supplied
Orthopaedic surgeon Vaughan Poutawera of Tauranga. Photo/supplied

Mr Poutawera, who works at Tauranga and Grace Hospitals, says he has been teaching and operating in the Pacific for years, travelling to the Cook Islands, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

"I have that deep feeling that I need to be doing something to help and I have transferable skills I can use." The surgeon says locals are quick to acknowledge medical teams' efforts.

"We get a lot of big smiles and big waves and 'bulas', People come up and shake our hands."

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 11 Dec 2016 22:58:37 Processing Time: 243ms