People all over the world saw the photo but really I was unimportant.
It was morning tea time at Royal Newcastle Hospital when the earthquake hit. There was a bang which sounded like a boiler exploding.
Everyone was confused. My registrar was closing a wound when the floor cracked beneath him.
I don’t think he ever sewed that fast in his life.
Bill Gillespie, who was ex-Army Medical Corps, sent a message that an orthopaedic surgeon and a couple of surgical kits were needed at the Workers Club so I went down.
It was pretty ad hoc but the emergency services people didn’t panic. They had that Australian attitude and just got on with what was required in a crisis. I was waiting for rubble to be cleared to see if I was needed inside with my orthopaedic tools for amputations.
They put a hat on my head that said medical team leader and the media started to take photos of me.
I was standing on the median strip eating sandwiches while all the important work was being done by emergency services.
Newcastle just kicked in however they could but we were lucky with the timing or the fatalities would have been much higher.
Dr Leon Kleinman
Then 49 year old Orthopaedic Surgeon, Newcastle