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 Masters 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.




9 Total Rating(s)

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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.

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Christine Maree Teague
12 Feb 2019

Down to earth and practical. Clearly pointed out what worked and what could have been done better while being supportive of team.

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Amanda Saun
12 Feb 2019

This was well informed and applied knowledge in real time.

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Lauren Scardino
12 Feb 2019

It was fascinating to hear the process of how staff react to a situation in which they could be overwhelmed but used their knowledge and resources in amazing ways and also how they learned what they could do better if faced again with the situation.

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Cait Codyre
10 Feb 2019

Insightful and informative

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Heather Dawson
07 Feb 2019


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Michelle Mulholland
05 Feb 2019

A well delivered insight into a 'code Brown's type event. With lessons to learn for anyone working in an ED experiencing an extraordinary patient load or simply like me with an interest in the Thunderstorm Asthma incident.

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Marie Nicole Roosmin
05 Feb 2019

Great presentation