We could see clouds in front of us, and I remember thinking “Are they water vapour clouds, or are they volcanic ash? Volcanic ash and air-intakes in helicopters don’t go very well…” Continue reading Out of the volcano — Dr John Bonning
Two events in the past twelve months have granted me greater insight into life and death.
It has been a year of reflection, a year to reflect on life and death. Continue reading Mooki and Ben — Dr Steve Doherty
The days were hot. Bushfires raged. Ruby’s neighbours had chosen to escape the heat and head for the coast. Ruby didn’t know or didn’t tell. She was determined to be in her own home.
She was found by a neighbour – on the floor, next to the airconditioning unit. Continue reading Ruby – Dr Simon Judkins
Over more than thirty years of practice, I’ve encountered death in its many forms. I’ve had to tell distraught parents that their child won’t make it. I’ve had to speak to wives as they become widows, children as they let go of parents, and, just occasionally, be the only company for the dying as they lose the link with life. Over this time, I’ve created … Continue reading A time to die – Dr Sue Ieraci
Snakebites are a constant threat to life. PNG has some of the highest rates of envenomation in the world, which reflects that the majority of the population live in rural areas. Despite improvements in the early treatment of snakebite, delivering first aid training to remote regions is a major challenge. The drugs we’ve given Alois should obviate the need for a breathing tube to be … Continue reading So close, yet so far – Dr Rob Mitchell
We were never taught how to do this part. It’s only through years of trial and error that you figure out the best way of breaking bad news – hopefully without too much of the error. Sometimes you know you do it well, and others, well… One thing is certain, this long walk and the interaction at the end is a test of compassion. It’s … Continue reading Breaking bad news – Dr Michelle Johnston
The next day, at 8.30 a.m., Stan had not appeared at work. His home phone was not answering. At 9 a.m. the police rang to say he was dead. It was my first three months in charge of an ED, and there was already a resident medical officer suicide. It wasn’t even discussed at an administrative level but barely a month goes by without me … Continue reading Stan – Dr Bryan Walpole
Things don’t always go well. One night, an unconscious man is brought into the ED. His friend actually drags him into the department. He has no pulse; he’s not breathing. He is white as a sheet. We perform CPR on him, going and going until help finally arrives in the form of a GP specialist who has travelled from home. The half an hour we spend working … Continue reading Emergency at night – Dr Anselm Wong
The ambulance had radioed ahead: 32-year-old male, motorcycle vs truck. He was unconscious, with an obvious head injury. Vital signs were stable, intubated at the scene. The ambulance was five minutes away.
The team follows a well-drilled routine when he arrives. We transfer him onto the trauma trolley: careful with the breathing tube; keep the neck immobilised; watch out for lines. Everyone gets on with their job – calm, efficient… Continue reading Close to the bone – Dr Anthony Cross
I had found something that ticked all the boxes. I had a home, a team and more than enough variety to keep a generalist happy. There were plenty of opportunities for excellence. I even had enough time for a life outside of work. I remain very happy with the choice I made to become an emergency physician. I still love the challenge of diagnosis, stabilisation and treatment. I love leading the team, sharing the highs and lows with them. When I was training, the challenge for me was to become a good emergency physician. I think that happened somewhere along the way.
But now, there are other challenges and goals to face. Continue reading On his own terms – Dr Stephen Parnis