Recognising our ‘everyday heroes’

Heroes come in many shapes and sizes and while there are various traits that help to make up a hero, such as courage and bravery, the one thing I have found is that most of our heroes are reluctant to seek out attention. For that reason I’d like to share an email that came across my desk the other day, about a group of Theatre staff, who despite having a particularly horrific shift, went the extra mile and performed at the top of their game.

To tell us more I have asked Catherine Larsen, Theatre Service Manager to provide some further details

Imagine you are coming to the end of a busy afternoon shift. The night shift are starting to come on and just as you are winding down, packing up and ready to go home, an elderly man with a ruptured *AAA arrives in Theatre. To make matters worse, the man starts to arrest – just as the surgeon arrives. You put all thoughts of going home out of your mind as you work with your colleagues to help save his life. Meanwhile in the Theatre next door, and unaware of what’s happening outside, theatre staff work hard on saving a woman due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

That’s 3 lives in the balance, and just as the man is stable enough to proceed with surgery a second AAA patient arrives, along with an emergency Caesarean. It’s all hands on deck, the adrenaline is pumping and everyone is working at the top of their game.

While events like this can happen and would you believe, do happen frequently, it was fantastic to hear the team work and camaraderie described with such high regard by two senior anaesthetists who were working that night.

Anyone who works in a highly pressured environment is well aware of the importance of good clear leadership and I’m guessing if most of us had the time to stop and think about what was happening, we would either be overwhelmed or unsure as to who needs our attention the most. In this situation the anaesthetists and nurse coordinators did a fabulous job of keeping the team together

And as a result every one of these patients had a good outcome.

Knowing you have given 110% and have done the best you can for your patients is the reason why our staff come to work. While thanking people for going the extra mile is appreciated, it’s not expected and I think a large number of our staff do a great job every day, without the need for accolades – that’s not why we do what we do.

To all of the staff that were working that night and to the wider Theatre team, thank you for your superhero effort. You do an amazing job and your efforts are valued and appreciated.

Geraint and Catherine


Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

3 thoughts on “Recognising our ‘everyday heroes’”

  1. You guys are awesome! And yes this is not an isolated incident. The staff in theatre often deal with full-on situations like these – it’s part of the job – but it’s great that they are recognised. The patients never usually remember us and have no idea the things we do to keep them safe. The excellent team work and camaraderie is a big part of working in CMH theatres and its something that (as I no longer work in theatre) I will never forget. Miss you guys!

  2. It’s always important to acknowledge and appreciate the people that make up our Middlemore whaanau, it anything we need more accolades. I look forward to reading and hearing more about how our “everyday” work is celebrated. It’s not about heroism, it’s about valuing each and every individuals effort to ensure that together we are providing the best services and best care we can!

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