Introduction

Visionary leader, highly respected teacher, healer, mentor, tireless advocate and champion of Rural Health, Dr Pat Farry was unmatched in his efforts and contribution to Rural Medicine and General Practice education. His vision of sustainable and quality health services for rural communities and small towns of New Zealand was through education. He devoted much of his career to advocating and lobbying for improvements and funding for rural medicine. The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust was established in March 2010, with the purpose of continuing this legacy. › Continue reading…

Eleven (Afterword): Tūranganui-a-Kiwa

My original plans, to spend a month in Colombo and then travel to Darwin, were dashed by COVID-19. After a few weeks in self isolation and a few more weeks going bonkers attempting to get a new placement signed off locally at the worst possible time for an elective medical student, I was offered a spot with Gisborne Hospital.

Gisborne might just be the most beautiful region in NZ

I hadn’t been to Tairāwhiti before, but I’ve always wanted the chance. For someone keen on rural practice, Gisborne definitely fits the bill, being nearly impossible to pass through by accident. It’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful region, with a fascinating (and sometimes terrible) history of tangata whēnua heritage and colonial contact with Captain Cook and the settlers. Unfortunately, it is also one of the places most impacted by healthcare inequity in New Zealand. As someone interested in working in this space in the future, I took this as an important learning opportunity and definitely found the experience to develop my understanding of the health inequity we have within our own borders. › Continue reading…

Rural Health Champion

Former University of Otago student and staff member Dr Pat Farry devoted nearly 40 years to providing rural health services and was intimately involved in rural health education for most of that time.

The late Dr Pat Farry: “I came to realise that, in the rural environment, we are always ‘the loss of one GP’ away from a crisis.”

Born and raised in Gore in a proud Lebanese family, Farry graduated from Otago with a medical degree in 1967. Following an initial interest in surgery, he went to Queenstown as a locum GP in 1971 and stayed. After five years, he opened the Queenstown Medical Centre, at the time only the second facility of its kind in New Zealand. His wife Sue, a physiotherapist, worked next door. Farry also served two terms on the Southland District Heath Board in the 1970s.

Farry’s experience as a Queenstown GP – with clinics in Glenorchy and Kingston at the far ends of Lake Wakatipu – fed his passion for rural medicine. He noted that outsiders found it funny that Queenstown was classed as rural, but it was two-and-a-half hours from specialist care and GPs had to deal with emergencies: the couple’s Combi van served as an ambulance, in high demand during the ski season. › Continue reading…

Ten: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2

Surely this can't be the last time I see Sri Lanka? There's still so much left to do.

If you’re reading this now, you’ll know that things didn’t go as planned.

Friday passed by in a blur of morbidity meetings, motor vehicle accident patients, and fractures. After work, I got drinks with some of the local and foreign students, and we talked about how COVID-19 was becoming a bigger concern. One of the Australian students mentioned that someone had pointed at him in the street and yelled “Corona!,” which we put down to a bit of hysteria as we’d heard was happening back home too. › Continue reading…

Nine: Cholangiopancreatograph…ological…isation…

Leaded up and discussing the ERCP. Nurses here all wear these classic-style uniforms.

I kicked off the day with an exciting opportunity – today was a scheduled list of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a top Scrabble word well worth memorising. It’s also a highly specialisedway to examine diseases of the pancreas and bile duct using real-time x-rays, fluorescing contrast injections, and a long controllable tubal scope passed from the mouth through down to the stomach and duodenum. This hospital is renowned for its surgical work in these areas, so it was a good chance to see the masters at work. › Continue reading…

Eight: බඩ

Finally, surgical scrubs that double as a St. Paddy's outfit.

Day 2: No snakebites, no mosquito bites, and no enforced shaving. I’m thriving!

I joined in the morning rounds with the surgeons, and just as I was warned, the questions started firing. The head surgeon didn’t see me at first, so I escaped the few rounds as my new German and Australian friends fielded. But now he was pointing intently at a nasty looking wound on a man’s leg and expecting an elective student answer, and I could tell I wasn’t going to be able to dodge these much longer. › Continue reading…

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