Qui Nhon 1966 - Vietnam

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Tono kōrero mai

A documentary by correspondent Patricia Penn on the work of the New Zealand hospital and staff at Qui [Quy] Nhon, Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

[Please note: this recording contains audio and graphic descriptions of hospital patients suffering from napalm burns and other wounds, which may be distressing to some listeners.]

Actuality recorded in the hospital ward. Patricia Penn describes the Vietnamese patients, and their wounds and treatment. Dr Douglas Short of Tauranga describes the horrific injuries to a female patient.

New Zealand's medical team have been there since 1963, the longest of any of the foreign teams. A New Zealand nurse was killed recently.
There is a description of the town, and how civilian casualties come to the hospital.

Dr Short talks about patients making their way to the hospital in terrible condition. There is no way of knowing how patients were wounded, whether by US bombing or by the Vietcong. He says the Vietnamese are the most stoic people he has ever met. Untrained relatives often save lives through their nursing care of a wounded family member.

Mines also endanger people trying to reach the hospital. Often there is only one nurse to a ward of sixty people, and no night nurses.
Officially there are no civilian casualties. Americans warn villages before bombing and tell them to evacuate, but Vietcong often prevent them leaving.

Dr Short describes some of the horrific burns and injuries to children. He finds it hard to believe how some of them have survived.

Jacqueline Stevens, also from Tauranga Hospital, is the theatre sister. She describes the problems of understaffing, overwork, and tiredness. Dr Short talks about New Zealand's plans to expand the team with more staff, up to 24 or 26 people.

Tessa York, an English nurse who trained at Kettering Hospital, is the other nurse. She talks about the involvement of patients' families in their care, lack of equipment for sterilisation, and running water.

John Weygang, a carpenter and handyman from Tauranga, is training Vietnamese to maintain the hospital.

Patricia Penn says she doubts she will ever see anyone working so hard or people enduring so much as she has at Quy Nhon. There follows comment from Jacqueline Stevens about her impressions. She says you don't get used to it but you have to build a shell in order to carry on.

The documentary ends with audio of a woman patient and child crying.

The back Announcer says new New Zealand staff have now arrived at the hospital.

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Year 1966

Reference number 27568

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Documentary radio programs
Nonfiction radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits Penn, Patricia, Reporter
Short, Doug 1922-2016, Interviewee
Stevens, Jacqueline, Interviewee
York, Tessa, Interviewee
Radio New Zealand. National Programme (estab. 1964, closed 1986), Broadcaster

Date 09 Sep 1966