Cover image for lecture: Thunderstorm Asthma: Managing Large-Scale Emergencies

Lecture Overview

In October of 2017, nine Victorians tragically died as a result of or due to complications associated with thunderstorm asthma. The disastrous weather event saw emergency services become overwhelmed with desperate calls from people suffering from acute respiratory problems. While we have long known that weather conditions can play havoc with the symptoms that people with asthma and allergies experience, why did it cause nine people to lose their lives? This session with Professor George Braitberg is not to be missed, as he recounts events from his first-hand experience on the ED floor of the Royal Melbourne Hospital.


Portrait of George Braitberg
George Braitberg

George Braitberg is executive director of strategy, quality, and improvement at Melbourne Health and professor of emergency medicine at the University of Melbourne. After completing his training in emergency medicine in Australia, Professor Braitberg undertook a fellowship in medical toxicology in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also a fellow of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, the American College of Medical Toxicology, and the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators. He holds a master in bioethics and health services management. Professor Braitberg work as a consultant emergency physician, toxicologist, and administrator. He is a board member of St Johns Ambulance Victoria, a medical advisor to Ambulance Victoria, a member of the Victorian Clinical Council, and the Board Ministerial Advisory Committee. His research interests include toxicology, pre-hospital care, and clinical governance. He received an Order of Australia (AM) in 2018.




25 Total Rating(s)

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Ruth Curtis
22 May 2019

Really interesting talk, even for those not working within an ED. You never know when a mass casualty situation is going to occur and you just might get seconded from another department to go and help.

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Nicole Bywaters
16 May 2019

Very informative. Would have been good to see the photos shown to group.

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Joanne Kissane
14 May 2019

Interesting and informative discussion.

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Anna Carter
10 May 2019

Very interested, unfortunately a few of the slides were out of sync with the speaker, but otherwise a good lecture.

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Kristina June Pereira
28 Mar 2019


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Lisa Boes
14 Mar 2019

Very interesting and also shows how wonderful humans can be in times of great need and how teams of skilled clinicians are able to manage extremely unusual and stressful emergency situations.

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Jenna He
07 Mar 2019

This is a fantastic presentation that gives me valuable insights in managing massive casualties at ED with a real case.

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Carmel Sullivan
03 Mar 2019

Would have liked more specific information on dosage of Ventolin, Prednisone. It was stated that patients received a blanket treatment, so it would be valuable to know. Do children get the same dose?

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Duncan Jones
15 Feb 2019

Interesting to hear about the event

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Maryanne O'Neill
13 Feb 2019

Excellent, insightful, relevant lecture on the crisis and evaluation of Thunderstorm Asthma on a large scale which affected over 200 persons within Melbourne Victoria and the frontline resources that were available at the time to try and alleviate the crisis. It was personably remarkable to hear about the effects it had on the Healthcare setting ( A&E) and what can be learned from this 2017 crisis for future recommendations.