Intended for healthcare professionals


How psychiatrists can play their part in the tsunami relief effort

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:262
  1. Bob Adams (, consultant psychiatrist
  1. York

I was on holiday with my wife and son at a hotel on the west coast of Sri Lanka when the tsunami struck. It was 10 am, Boxing Day. Only afterwards did we realise how lucky we were to get away unscathed. At the time we were on the third floor of our hotel watching and videotaping the staff clearing up the mess from an initial, small wave. We could have no perception of what would happen next. Two days later our recording of the wave appearing through the trees, crossing the pool, and hitting the hotel was shown on worldwide television before more spectacular films superseded it. My wife's nursing skills were immediately put to good use in the hotel lobby, where she dressed and cleaned wounds with the hotel staff, a casualty senior house officer, and a dentist with a suture kit. There was little for a psychiatrist to do at this time. …

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