In February 2022, Lismore and the Northern Rivers region was hit by torrential rain that saw the Wilson River rise two metres above its previous record height.. NSW Health Pathology’s Lismore team worked tirelessly to ensure uninterrupted service for the community despite their own personal challenges.
Flood waters lapped at the front step of our Lismore laboratory in February 2022 as levee banks broke and large areas of the town went under water.
Staff sandbagged the doorway and moved equipment to higher ground so testing could continue if the lab flooded.
Houses and businesses were destroyed leaving many people homeless, including some of our NSW Health Pathology colleagues who lost their homes and possessions. Roads were cut leaving other colleagues stranded for extended periods. Nearby towns were isolated preventing specimens reaching our lab.
The town hadn’t even begun to recover when in March, the river broke its banks again, inundating the town and hindering the clean-up and any progress that had been achieved.
Heartbreaking as it was, our Lismore team was undaunted because they knew people were depending on them to continue to provide vital public pathology services.
Galvanised by disaster and energised by the camaraderie of their close team and generous support from the teams at our Tweed, Grafton and Coffs Harbour labs, they kept going.
Staff who were able to get to work covered for colleagues who were isolated, working their shifts to maintain services. They partnered with emergency services to retrieve specimens from isolated communities, and with Lifeblood to restock blood supplies.
Despite the chaos, isolation and disruption to their personal lives, the team worked tirelessly to ensure undisrupted diagnostic service for our Northern Rivers patients and clinicians.