Christchurch earthquake: Doctors counselled after 13 staff unaccounted for

By Martin Johnston

Teresa McLean is among the missing staff. Photo / Supplied
Teresa McLean is among the missing staff. Photo / Supplied

The co-owners of the health clinic flattened in the collapse of the CTV building were receiving counselling yesterday and expressed their sympathy for the families of missing staff.

"The trauma psychologist is with us now," Dr Victoria Flight, who owns the business with her husband John Drew, said yesterday.

Thirteen staff of the centre, which traded as The Clinic, are missing. Receptionist Pip Lee was pulled out of the rubble alive.

New Zealand Doctor magazine reports that those at the health centre on Tuesday, the day of the earthquake, numbered four doctors, three receptionists, three nurses, three allied health practitioners and one practice manager.

Dr Flight was not at the centre on Tuesday because of an injury.

Asked by the magazine if she felt lucky to be alive, she said, "Well ...

No, people say that, but actually, I just feel guilty."

Among the clinic staff missing are doctors Allan Sinclair, who gained his medical degree at Manchester University, England, in 1988, Maysoon Abbas (Baghdad University, 1973), Husam Al-Ani (Baghdad University, 1979) and Dominic Bell (Otago University, 1989).

Other missing staff include nurses Teresa McLean (registered in 1993) and Jane Grant (registered in 2006); osteopath Janet Meller (registered 2004); and receptionists Diane Falconer and Marian Hilbers.

NZ Doctor said Dr Flight did not know how many patients were in the building at the time of the earthquake, but the magazine had been contacted by the relative of at least one patient who was still missing.

The Clinic had shifted to the CTV building two weeks before the earthquake from its former premises in Gloucester St, from which damage to neighbouring buildings had forced it to move.

In a statement released on their behalf last night by the Canterbury District Health Board, Dr Flight and Dr Drew said they extended their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of their much loved and respected staff.

"They offer their support in any way they can and will be contacting the families personally."

The statement went on to say they could not offer much needed help and support but the Bealey Ave 24-hour clinic would be given patients' history for continued medical care.

- NZ Herald

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