HEARING LOSS WON'T HOLD THIS DOCTOR BACK
FIONA Stonley has never been one to let her condition hold her back.
After being diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss at age three, the RACQ LifeFlight doctor has overcome more than most to be in the position she is in today.
It took years of speech therapy, training, and quite frankly a lot of guts, she said.
But her message to kids who feel like their disability will prevent them from achieving their dreams is clear.
“There are very few things you can’t do,” she said.
“As long as you’ve stopped and thought about it like, ‘okay there is this potential problem where I might not be able to hear that will be an issue’ how can I work around it.
“I’d just say go for it. You don’t know if you don’t try.”
As the daughter of a geologist and a medical secretary, it was clear that great things were destined for Dr Stonley. The trainee anaesthetist recalled her first experience of being around doctors as a child and how it initially inspired her to pursue the profession.
“I’d be hiding in a hospital somewhere in the outpatient department sort of trying to be well-behaved and not make too much noise (when at work with her mother),” she said.
“I was always aware of doctors and nurses but nobody in the family was a doctor or nurse so I didn’t have that direct connection.
“When I was about 10 or 11 I had a neck injury and I had to have physio therapy for a few months and that was really what triggered it.
“I was like ‘this is pretty amazing people can do some fancy stuff and fix people. I want to do that’ and it all just went from there really.”
The job does not come without its difficulties, but Dr Stonley won’t admit that.
After a year with LifeFlight she said she would look back on her time with fond memories when she took to the air for the final time and bid farewell to the Garden City to returns to her native England next year.
“In some ways it’s really difficult for me to say if my hearing has made any difference because I don’t know any different,” she said. “I’m going to be really sad actually. It’s a great team here and it’s a really good place to work and I’m going to really miss it.”