New­found pas­sion for ru­ral medicine a life-changer

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

LIV­ING in the city his whole life, West Perth res­i­dent Nic Mat­tock (23) did not ever en­vis­age pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the coun­try.

How­ever, after re­cently com­plet­ing a six-month in­tern­ship with Patches Pae­di­atric do­ing ru­ral out­reach work with chil­dren with brain dis­or­ders, the sec­ond-year UWA med­i­cal stu­dent has changed his tune.

“I ap­plied for the in­tern­ship through the Mc­cusker Cen­tre for Cit­i­zen­ship and was lucky enough to get it,” he said.

“I’m very for­tu­nate to come from a white, up­per-mid­dle class family, with no en­gage­ment with com­mu­ni­ties out­side of mine be­fore, so I was look­ing at how I would ex­er­cise some change in that do­main.”

Dur­ing the in­tern­ship, Mr Mat­tock trav­elled with a pae­di­a­tri­cian and clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist to the Kim­ber­ley, di­ag­nos­ing and in­ter­ven­ing with chil­dren with foetal al­co­hol spec­trum dis­or­der (FASD).

“There is a high pro­por­tion of peo­ple in the in­dige­nous com­mu­nity with FASD, which is a neu­rode­vel­op­ment con­di­tion ba­bies get when they are ex­posed to al­co­hol be­fore birth,” he said. “The idea of Patches is to bring the ser­vices to the com­mu­ni­ties, rather than they come to you.

“When they are eight hours or so from Broome, they’re less likely to go.”

Mr Mat­tock said be­ing able to make a dif­fer­ence was most ap­peal­ing.

“Ru­ral medicine wasn’t some­thing I thought about do­ing un­til I went up there and now it’s what I want to do,” he said.

“You look at com­mu­ni­ties here; we all have ac­cess to ser­vices.

“Whereas you go out to these com­mu­ni­ties and take these ser­vices to them, you make a huge dif­fer­ence and it is life-al­ter­ing.”

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d469946

Nic Mat­tock.

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