Surgery relief for Ashburton patient

Sam Morton - Ashburton Guardian - 7th of May, 2012 

Ashburton man John Easton is a relieved gentleman. For months he has been suffering with a hernia, but on Thursday his wait for surgery came to a welcome end.

In January, Mr Easton, 72, was one of the many victims affected by the theatre block closure at Ashburton Hospital due to unsafe and earthquake prone buildings. He was put on the Canterbury District Health Board waiting list to have surgery in Christchurch and he knew his wait would be months – living with unwanted pain every day.

However, the team at the mobile surgical bus came to the rescue, thanks to the stopgap measure put in place by the board for Ashburton patients. “I got a phone call about three weeks ago telling me of this option and I just jumped at the opportunity,” Mr Easton said. “If I had said no, I would have had to go to Christchurch and it could have been nearer the end of the year so it would have been less than ideal.”

Mr Easton said he was impressed with the 20 metre long, 42 tonne truck and believed it was a great temporary choice to help the people of mid Canterbury needing surgery. The surgical bus is fully equipped with all the gear found in a main city hospital, and staff including surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses usually travel from out of town. “It’s a really modern piece of machinery, the bus is big on the outside and inside, it’s like one big room. I was blown away,” he said. “It’s definitely a great way to relieve the waiting list around here and I think people will be glad they won’t have to travel to Christchurch. It’s a big plus for the town.”

Mr Easton praised the staff and couldn’t speak highly enough of them – from reception right through to the surgeon that operated on him. “They were absolutely fantastic. Every one of them was helpful and it made my experience a pleasant one – well as pleasant as it could be given the circumstances.”

Mr Easton is recovering at home with his feet up until next month. He has been told to rest and take it easy, but that’s easier said than done for a retired man who loves his golf and is champing at the bit to get out of the golf course. “I’m looking forward to getting back out on the course, I really enjoy it. Might be a month or so yet, but I’m here counting down the days.”


  • The surgical bus will be parked at the Ashburton Hospital once every five weeks until a decision is made to address the absence of surgical services locally.