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HomeNewsMaking better decisions with P.A.R.T.Y

Making better decisions with P.A.R.T.Y

A group of Year 10 Pittwater High students watch as staff from Royal North Shore Hospital’s trauma team perform a simulated resuscitation on a 17-year-old “patient”. She is intoxicated, haemorrhaging, and seriously injured after her car crashed at 120km per hour. 

The team try to stop her bleeding, but she needs to go to surgery. While the team may only be working on a mannequin, the scene feels intense.

At the end of the simulation, Dr Geoff Healy, the Director of Trauma and an Anaesthetist at the hospital, tells the students that if ever they are worried about a friend’s driving, they can pretend they are about to vomit.

“Nobody wants to clean up that in their car,” he said.

The students are attending the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth or P.A.R.T.Y program, a one-day event targeting 15- to 25-year-olds about the consequences of risky behaviour.

After watching the emergency intervention, the students will travel along with the “patient” as she goes to intensive care and recovery. Not only do they learn about what happens in hospitals, but they also gain insights into the heartbreaking and myriad of far-reaching effects that severe accidents have on families, friends, and hospital staff.

The program began in Canada and launched at RNSH in 2013. After a hiatus due to COVID-19, the program is running fortnightly at simulation centres at the St Leonards campus and Hornsby Hospital.

Geoff said young people have always taken risks and the program encourages them to make better decisions.

"Risk increases around this time of a young person's life," he said. "We can reduce those risks by having a primary prevention program."

Geoff also works on rescue helicopters and has attended major accidents across New South Wales.


We’ve been to literally dozens and dozens of major car accidents full of teenage kids in the last couple of years
Dr Geoff Healy

“They are devastating – there are often deaths in the vehicles.”

“For the survivors, there are massive long-term effects. We know that there are significant rates of anxiety, depression and PTSD six months and 12 months post-major injury. Even when the kids get better, they still have massive psychological impacts for the rest of their lives.”

Geoff said accidents increase around the HSC, during school holidays and at Christmas time.

“It’s not only with motor vehicles but we also see injuries caused by jumping into the water, jumping from heights and falling off balconies.” 

He hopes to arm young people with a set of skills so they can make better decisions.

“Prevention is always much better than treatment,” he said.

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