Archive for 'News'

Tom and Meagaidh from Search & Rescue

Before I arrived at the Belford it had been joked that in summer the hospital was full of mountain bikers and in winter skiers and snowboarders. This was to prove very true. Although there was still snow on the mountain tops the summer sports were well underway. Mountain bike accidents were right up there with the top admissions and broken vertebrae seemed to be a favourite. I saw neck, back and pelvis injuries as well as very impressive bruising covering one patients entire back. The worst cases were stabilised and sent to the bigger hospitals in Inverness or Glasgow. Most patients were tourists to the area and often transfers could be arranged back to local hospitals or spinal units closer to home in other parts of the UK.

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Welcome to Main Street, Fort William!

After a quick flight, which served to remind me just how quick and easy travelling in Europe is, I had landed in Scotland. My next placement was at the Belford Hospital in Fort William and getting there was a delight. I passed a scenic afternoon on the train traveling through golden hill ranges and past tiny stations seemingly used only by hikers stepping out to the trails, before arriving at the small but charming town that was to be my home for the next placement. Fort William has a population of around 10,000 but brings in many more visitors through its well-deserved title of ‘’Outdoor Capital of the UK”. The town nestles at the base of the Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. At 1350m it’s on the smaller side by NZ standards but is known to be covered in snow on the tops for most of the year and thus can be a technical climb. In the summer months the area is inundated by walkers and mountain bikers then the winter sees an influx of people for various snow sports. The popular West-Highland Way trail from Glasgow ends here and the mountain biking downhill world champs are held in the area.

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Tash Austin

The other end of the spectrum..

The huge Mater Dei Hospital

Having gotten my feet wet in the small rural hospital of Santo, Vanuatu it was time to turn to the opposite end of the spectrum. Mater Dei is a huge 900 bed Hospital located in the main city of Malta, Msida. I applied here because I wanted to contrast what I was seeing in my two rural hospital placements and see a large range of patient presentations in the time I had available. And what an experience it was!

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Tash Austin

Oh and Gee!!

A further two beds in the delivery suite

Oh and Gee, are perhaps the politer words to describe what I was often thinking during my rotation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at NDH. The staff are extremely hardworking and do their best with the resources available, but it was a far cry from services available in New Zealand. › Continue reading…

Tash Austin

An Intro to Island Time

The entrance to the Emergency Department

Arriving on the beautiful island of Santo Espiritu in Northern Vanuatu I was ready to hit the ground running and submerge myself in my first elective placement. I could already tell by the flight over the island that I was in for an interesting month here. The buildings were mostly concrete block with tin or palm roofs and the main centre of Luganville was tiny (even by New Zealand standards). The main industries on the island seem to be farming, fishing and tourism with the former two grinding to a halt for the latter when the cruise ships arrive in port.

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Somewhere deep in these woods are the patients we needed to locate and save

The pinnacle of my entire elective and possibly all of medical school for me was being the medical and transport director of a simulated mass casualty incident. This occurred on the last night of the wilderness first responder course during my wilderness medical elective. I really enjoy taking on leadership positions and this really pushed me to my limits.

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WMS Wilderness medicine staff and students 2018, Including Copper and Sophie the dogs

The third month of my elective was probably my favourite month of the entire of medical school. I first heard about the Wilderness Medicine Societies student elective in 2016 and knew from then on that I wanted to be a part of it. I have done a few weekend wilderness medicine courses before, during 3rd and 4th year so it fantastic to learn new things and reinforce previous knowledge and skills. I made sure I was 1st quarter elective so I would be able to participate in this course and applied for it the day applications opened. › Continue reading…

Mark Owen-Cooper

The Shetland Islands

For the second part of my elective, I was doing General Practice in Unst and Lerwick Health Centres in the Shetland Islands, Scotland.

Oscar Charlie, The Shetland Islands coastguard helicopter

For those that have no idea where the Shetland Islands are. They are 170km north of mainland Scotland. They are an archipelago of islands in the North Sea. The main industries are fishing, oil, agriculture and tourism. Medicine in Shetland is, like back home, based predominantly around general practice. There is one base hospital based in Lerwick. Gilbert Bain Hospital is a small secondary hospital with four surgical consultants and four medical consultants, a couple of anaesthetists and a handful of house officers. Along with the nurses and the allied health team, the whole hospital is run smoothly. The A and E department is run by house officers, one surgical and one medical who call in the on-call consultant based in the hospital if needed. › Continue reading…

13 teeth extracted from one 7-year-old boy. Photo taken with his mother's permission.

While I was traveling on the Mobile Surgical Bus a lot of the lists performed in the North Island were paediatric dental lists. These are children that have failed to have dental work done successfully in a normal dental clinic due to the difficulty of the procedure or inability of it to be performed on an awake child. These kids would, therefore, have their dental work done under general anaesthetic. Lists normally had about seven to ten children per day depending on the amount of time needed for each procedure. These children could be anywhere from two to 15 years old, most were normally in the four years to eight years’ age group. › Continue reading…

Mark Owen-Cooper

Mobile Surgical Services

Enjoying a sunny day with the Surgical Bus in Snells Beach

Mobile Surgical services, what a whirlwind way to tour New Zealand and get to assist in improving rural health care throughout rural NZ. This was the way I spent the first month of my elective. After a minor hitch with booking my time on the surgical bus everything was sorted for me to meet up with the mobile surgical bus in Queenstown on the 20th of November 2017, 2 weeks after sitting my final 5th-year exams, and 1 week after finding out I actually passed them. (WoooHooo!!!) I managed to get this amazing elective set up thorough MSS’s General Manager Mark Eager and their mastermind and Clinical Director Dr. Stu Gowland. › Continue reading…

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