Emergency services at the hospital after the storm in 2015.
Emergency services at the hospital after the storm in 2015. Marc Stapelberg

Big honour for midwives who saved mums, babies during storm

​​The courage of two local midwives who bravely put mothers and babies' lives before their own as a severe storm lashed Lismore Base Hospital almost six years ago, has been recognised in the Australian Bravery Decorations.

Leanne Chamberlain and Mary-Ann Hyde have each received a Commendation for Brave Conduct after their heroic actions when scaffolding collapsed onto a temporary maternity building in late November 2015.

Ms Chamberlain and Ms Hyde courageously leapt into action to shield five mothers and newborns from debris as the ceiling fell in.

Despite being injured, they responded to the calls of distressed mothers, moved everyone to safety inside the ward and continued to care for them until emergency services arrived.

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes said the awards to Ms Chamberlian and Ms Hyde were apt recognition for the lengths both midwives went to during the incident.

"Both of these midwives went well above and beyond what would normally have been expected of any nurse or midwife in such difficult circumstances," Mr Holmes said.

"The fact that Leanne immediately threw herself across one mother and baby to shield them from the falling debris is remarkable, Leanne ignored her own injuries and put the safety of her patients first.

"Mary-Ann's efforts during the crisis were incredible; surrounded by debris and water, she managed to wade through it and slide across a fallen wall to reach the mothers and babies and support Leanne."

NSWNMA assistant general secretary, Judith Kiejda, said the agility of the two women in such trying circumstances was extraordinary.

"It takes enormous courage, in a situation of heightened danger, to not hesitate when a ceiling is collapsing around you and you're battling all the elements of a severe storm cell," Ms Kiejda said.

"No one heads into a shift thinking they'll be performing the heroics these two midwives delivered so courageously.

"It was beyond belief and they conducted themselves selflessly."

The NSWNMA and its Lismore Base Hospital Branch nominated Ms Chamberlian and Ms Hyde for the bravery awards with input from local authorities.


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