Doc­tor still calls Bur­nett home

Lieu­tenant Holly Mur­phy, RAN, in front of her coali­tion col­leagues at Hamid Karzai In­ter­na­tional Air­port

South Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Mar­guerite Cud­dihy mar­guerite. cud­dihy @ south­bur­nett­times. com. au

❝ I’ve trav­elled all around the world but I still con­sider Wooroolin home. — Lieu­tenant Holly Mur­phy

AS A Navy doc­tor in Afghanistan, Lieu­tenant Holly Mur­phy has dealt with two mass ca­su­alty in­ci­dents from ter­ror­ist at­tacks in the past three months alone.

Holly is de­ployed to Kabul, work­ing in the Hamid Karzai In­ter­na­tional Air­port mil­i­tary hospi­tal.

It’s her first land- based op­er­a­tion af­ter five stints on Naval ships that took her to the Mid­dle East, Sri Lanka, Mada­gas­car and Sey­chelles, just to name a few.

And de­spite hav­ing trav­elled all over the world with the Royal Aus­tralian Navy, she still calls the South Bur­nett home.

Holly went to Kin­garoy State High School from Years 9– 12 while liv­ing with her aunt and un­cle, Ch­eryl and John Dal­ton, in Wooroolin.

“I’ve trav­elled all around the world but I still con­sider Wooroolin home,” Holly said from her base in Kabul.

“You can ap­pre­ci­ate how close the com­mu­nity is, and it’s al­ways nice to come home and have that fa­mil­iar­ity, which I’ve had with Wooroolin for the past 14– 15 years.”

The US- led NATO hospi­tal that Holly is sta­tioned at pro­vides the mil­i­tary base with a range of ser­vices in­clud­ing rou­tine and pri­mary care, life- sav­ing re­sus­ci­ta­tion, blood bank and trauma surgery.

Holly said the two mass ca­su­alty in­ci­dents she’d dealt with since be­ing in Kabul were the re­sult of off- base ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

“You don’t of­ten get to see trau­matic in­juries from blasts due to ter­ror­ist at­tacks, so to be able to get ex­pe­ri­ence treat­ing those kinds of ca­su­al­ties and work­ing in a trauma fa­cil­ity is ex­cit­ing,” she said.

In some ways how­ever, she said her land- based role was less stress­ful than be­ing a doc­tor on a war­ship at sea.

“I am used to be­ing the high­est rank­ing med­i­cal per­son on a ship at sea, hav­ing to make med­i­cal de­ci­sions with a team of two medics while of­ten be­ing hours from any help,” she said.

“While on HMAS Ade­laide I had to do a cou­ple of he­li­copter evac­u­a­tions in the Solomon Is­lands af­ter civil­ians were at­tacked.

“In Kabul, I am sup­ported by a team of highly qual­i­fied sur­geons and doc­tors. I have a lot of pro­fes­sion­als to learn from and I don’t feel like I am ever on my own when mak­ing med­i­cal de­ci­sions,” she said.

“You can spend up to a cou­ple of weeks at a time on the ocean. As a doc­tor in the civil­ian world you don’t treat fam­ily or friends, but on the ship ev­ery­one is fam­ily and friends and you have to treat them.

“You make close friends when you serve at sea. You would never live, eat and work with peo­ple for three or six months at a time in your life out­side of Navy so you get to know peo­ple re­ally well,” she said.

The 31- year- old can’t pin­point the ex­act mo­ment she de­cided to be­come a doc­tor with the De­fence Force.

“I al­ways knew I wanted to do emer­gency work as a doc­tor, but I didn’t want to get there in a hurry.

“This path­way has given me a lot of time and it’s fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said.

“You feel like you’re con­tribut­ing to some­thing greater than your­self.”

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Royal Aus­tralian Navy doc­tor, Lieu­tenant Holly Mur­phy ( sec­ond from left), and her coali­tion col­leagues treat a pa­tient at the mil­i­tary hospi­tal in Hamid Karzai In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Lieu­tenant Holly Mur­phy stands in the sick­bay of HMAS New­cas­tle while on Op­er­a­tion Man­i­tou in the Mid­dle East re­gion.

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