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