Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Front Page - By Mar­garet McKin­ley

Un­til about the mid 1950’s , res­i­dents of the Du­ral area had to go to Cas­tle Hill if they wanted to see a Doc­tor. Then Peter and Lynette De­go­tardi ( both doc­tors)bought a cot­tage op­po­site the shop at the in­ter­sec­tion of Old North­ern Road and Gal­ston Road, and “put out their Shin­gle”, and es­tab­lished a med­i­cal con­sult­ing prac­tice in their front rooms. About 1966 they built the present Du­ral Med­i­cal Cen­tre, and were joined by other doc­tors.

Peter was a great story teller and in 1993 he pub­lished a book, “Deg’s Sto­ries, Life was not meant to be se­ri­ous .” Only 250 copies were pub­lished, so it is very hard to find now. But the Dooral Roundup of May 1993 wrote up one story called “A Cow of a Job”. Here is an edited ver­sion;

“When Gen­eral Prac­tice first started at Du­ral, vet­eri­nary care was not eas­ily avail­able, and at times the lo­cal doc­tors were called upon to treat as­sorted an­i­mals. My own vet­eri­nary tri­umph was not in treat­ing the an­i­mal but the vet­eri­nar­ian. Along Gal­ston Road lived an ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tive, Mr. R. He in­tro­duced a pro­gram of ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion for his cows. In due course the cows started calv­ing. He first few births were un­event­ful, and Mr R. was very proud of him­self as a cat­tle breeder. How­ever, even­tu­ally, one cow was un­able to de­liver and Mr R., faced with the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing a cow worth five hun­dred pounds, was forced to call in the near­est vet.

This man lived at Pen­nant Hills, eight miles away, and prac­ticed mainly on small an­i­mals, but he knew what to do, put the cow in the crush, in­serted an arm, and at­tempted to pull down a leg. The cow went into tonic con­trac­tion, which pre­vented him from with­draw­ing his arm. He knew that the con­trac­tion would even­tu­ally pass and waited pa­tiently. After about 20 min­utes his arm be­came very painful, and then he lost all sen­sa­tion in it. Mrs R. came to in­ves­ti­gate, and rushed back to the house to ring the doc­tor (me).

When I ar­rived con­fu­sion was at a peak. At first I thought I was be­ing asked to am­pu­tate the vet’s arm, but he was un­able to sign a con­sent form, even if I had one. The vet asked me if I had any­thing that would make the cow’s uterus re­lax. Since I was a part time anaes­thetist, I al­ways had with me var­i­ous agents, one of which was the po­tent agent, Halo­phane, which I knew was very good at mak­ing the hu­man uterus re­lax. We gave the cow a small bag of chaff over her head, and poured the Halo­phane co­pi­ously over it .

The ef­fect was dra­matic. Within a cou­ple of min­utes, the uterus re­laxed , the arm was ex­tracted, the cat­tle man pulled down the calf ’s legs and de­liv­ered the calf with the help of a Fer­gu­son Trac­tor, the cow was re­leased from the crush and started to lick some life into the calf, which rapidly re­sponded . The vet didn’t re­cover so rapidly, so I rang one of my con­tacts who was a vas­cu­lar sur­geon at one of Syd­ney’s teach­ing Hospi­tals, who said “send him in”. When I rang an hour later I was told that his arm was nor­mal.

About a week later, a gift wrapped bot­tle ar­rived from the vet. I ex­pected at least the best sin­gle malt. When I re­moved the wrap­ping, it turned out to be a bot­tle of Halothane ! “

At the next meet­ing of the Du­ral His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety on Satur­day,8th July, the guest speaker will be Don Nap­per who will talk about “Five Govern­ment Ar­chi­tects “All wel­come

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