Is­land proves skills test

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Two med­i­cal stu­dents from Kar­ratha were re­cently faced with a se­ries of med­i­cal emer­gen­cies while vis­it­ing Rot­tnest Is­land, in­clud­ing a neardrown­ing, a snake bite, stroke and po­ten­tial spinal in­jury.

Made­line Napier and Danielle Everett were com­pet­ing in the Ru­ral Health West Rotto Ram­ble, an Amazing Race-style sim­u­lated med­i­cal wilder­ness chal­lenge.

Par­tic­i­pants didn’t know what med­i­cal emer­gency was com­ing, or when, but they had to be ready to swing into ac­tion, work as a team and learn to save lives.

Ms Napier, who left Kar­ratha to start her med­i­cal de­gree, said it was good to be ex­posed to emer­gency sce­nar­ios.

“That’s not some­thing you have much chance to do as a med stu­dent as you’re un­der the guid­ance of more ex­pe­ri­enced doc­tors,” she said.

“It was also won­der­ful to be su­per­vised by emer­gency physi­cians. If you’re on ro­ta­tion in emer­gency, you do work with them, but they are so busy and in de­mand that you don’t have much chance to de­brief with them es­pe­cially with in­ter­est­ing cases like we were see­ing on Rotto — so that as­pect was ex­tremely ben­e­fi­cial.

“I haven’t cho­sen my spe­cialty yet, but I do know that I want to work ru­rally — I miss hav­ing the beach all to my­self.”

Ms Everett un­der­took much of her school­ing while liv­ing in Kar­ratha and plans to be­come a ru­ral gen­eral prac­ti­tioner.

“It was an in­valu­able net­work­ing op­por­tu­nity for me, as I will be an in­tern at Sir Charles Gaird­ner Hos­pi­tal next year and sev­eral of my team mates and many of the su­per­vi­sors work there,” she said.

Rotto Ram­ble cre­ator Tony Ce­lenza said the event en­abled ju­nior doc­tors and med­i­cal stu­dents to use a wide range of skills.

“The doc­tors and med­i­cal stu­dents had to re­spond to med­i­cal emer­gen­cies that hap­pened with­out warn­ing at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions on the is­land, which for many was out of their com­fort zone,” he said.

“They’re used to hav­ing ac­cess to med­i­cal equip­ment and mon­i­tors in a hos­pi­tal.”

Picture: Ru­ral Health West

Made­line Napier stands at the ready as the team re­vives a hy­pother­mia “vic­tim” un­der a physi­cian’s su­per­vi­sion.

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