Canterbury District Health Board Head Of Surgery Greg Robertson has today spoken out about the magnitude of the attack on Friday which saw 50 people killed and 50 injured, 12 of them critically.
Hospital staff are "doing remarkably well" Mr Robertson said as they coped with the influx of multi-injured patients.
Fifty people were killed on Friday when a gunman shot worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch in what has been described as a terrorist attack.
Thirty-four people remain in Christchurch Hospital with 12 of those in a critical condition, Mr Robertson said.
He said staff expected another patient to go home today.
One child, a girl, is still in a critical condition at Starship Hospital in Auckland.
“Presently there are seven acute theatres operating. Normally we would be running three on a day like today,” he said.
Many of the injured required multiple surgeries.
Thirty-eight planned surgeries were being cancelled tomorrow and being undertaken at another time, Mr Robertson said.
He thanked the people of Canterbury for their understanding.
Mr Robertson said the toll on staff who were first responders was significant.
“We are all part of the community and we are struggling with it as much as everyone else. This is not something we expected to see in our environment,” he said.
“We do see gunshot wounds, we do see all these type of injuries, but 40 or 50 people in a day is more than what we should see.”
Some of the injured arrived at the hospital on Friday in cars as well as by ambulance, Mr Robertson said.
He said staff were coping well despite being “horrified and stunned” by the event.
“We’ve got people who are tired and we are coping with that by cycling them through,” he said.
“There will undoubtedly be, as we saw after the earthquakes, a delayed mental stress type response to this. They will wonder if they could have done better or things we could have done differently, but that’s the way things are always in medicine,” Mr Robertson said.
“We are used to seeing different things but the magnitude of this thing is the most significant issue for people,” he said.
“It‘s that fact that someone has done this to our people, our friends our colleagues, this is just unbelievable.”