The Bali burn disaster: implications and lessons learned

J Burn Care Rehabil. 2005 Mar-Apr;26(2):125-31

Kennedy PJ, Haertsch PA, Maitz PK.
Burns Unit, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, Australia.


In October 2002, a terrorist attack on a nightclub in Bali resulted in an explosion and fire, causing the deaths of more than 200 people, including 88 Australian citizens. After first aid and primary care, the injured were repatriated to Darwin for triage and continued treatment and were then disseminated to various burn units throughout Australia. At the Repatriation General Hospital Concord Sydney, we received 12 patients with burns and a variety of blast injuries. Their treatment was complicated by infection with multiresistant organisms that were previously unseen in our unit and the presence of complex shrapnel wounds. There were no deaths and, with two exceptions, all patients were discharged within 6 weeks. This incident had profound effects on our unit, particularly related to the management of high-velocity shrapnel injuries, serious ongoing septic complications, and the psychological effects on both patients and staff, all of which are detailed and discussed.