A group of students stood in shock as they heard the nurses pronounce a six-year-old boy dead. The boy was a dummy named Sam and he was used as part of the PARTY (Prevention of Alcohol and Risk - Related Trauma in Youth) program designed to show students the reality of risk-taking behaviours.
Once the dummy was removed from the scene the paramedics brought in a third year medical student who was playing the boy’s brother, Marty.
The scenario was that Marty had been driving while under the influence of drugs and had crashed the car which resulted in the death of his brother.
Real nurses, doctors and paramedics took part in the scenario which saw 30 Year 11 Kooringal High School students watch on.
“It’s intense,” sixteen-year-old Nicholas Spain said.
“It will make me think twice when I drive.”
Kooringal High social worker Erin Diggelmann said it was the second year they’d taken part in the program.
“It definitely has an impact,” she said.
The nurses taking part in the reenactment said they try to make it as real as possible.
They do fortnightly reenactments for training with other staff and medical students but the one in front of school students is only done once a year.
“It’s good it puts it in perspective for the students because this is what actually happens,” doctor Jess Rerden said.
“It’s quite confronting, we go for the shock factor.”
The shock was evident on the students faces as they watched the staff pronounce the dummy dead and as the brother screamed in pain as they worked on him.
In 2012, 15 per cent of youths between the ages of 15 and 25 years were presented to NSW hospitals with severe trauma injuries.
In the past five years across the country there have been 1638 deaths associated with road trauma in the same group.
Program Coordinator Maura Desmond said the it is extremely important for young people who are particularly vulnerable to taking risks.
“Too many families and young lives are affected by death and disability as a result of trauma that could easily have been prevented. This message is particularly relevant this time of year with ‘Schoolies’ approaching,” she said. The program is run by the Royal North Shore Hospital.