From Tacloban to Antarctica

I’ve just caught up with former KIDoc, Dr Jamie Doube – Jamie is special for doing his GP registrar years in part on Macquarie Island with the Australian Antarctica Division as both Station Doctor but also as a major player in the program there to eradicate rabbits from this pristine environment.

He is way to humble to mention that he got the Antarctica Medal in 2011 for this work. He is also a useful doctor – trained as both rural & remote doctor, plus GP-surgeon and GP-anaesthetist. Not sure if I can convince him to get the trifecta of GP-obstetrics…

Like many rural proceduralists, Jamie is a ‘multi-tool’ – adaptable to many situations. I had a conversation with Dr Minh le Cong about the value of rural generalists last week on an RFDS STAR course. As you know, Minh is a country doctor-turned retrievalist, and cites many examples where rural doctors have proved their worth in the prehospital environment (with skills in EM, obstetrics, primary care, trauma and anaesthesia). Jamie and I had a similar conversation after the podcast (below) and are keen to encourage rural generalism as an excellent career path, opening doors into a variety of specialties.

Jamie was with me on KI when he got the call to be part of Team Alpha as part of the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) response to the ‘super-typhoon’ that decimated the Philipines in November.

AusMAT is one of a number of agencies, both Govt and NGO, who respond to disasters. Ironically AusMAT training had occurred on Kangaroo Island the week prior, but this exercise was no comparison to the Philipines disaster response.

Tacloban Disaster after "super-typhoon"
Tacloban Disaster after “super-typhoon”

You can read more about AusMAT and the Australian National Critical Care Response Centre below.

AusMAT courses

I spoke to Jamie last week after he got back – and he sounded buggered after some extraordinary work in Tacloban treating victims.

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But since then he’s been off on another adventure, as part of the Australian Antarctica Division response to a helicopter crash on the ice with three seriously injured expeditioners. The sheer logistics of retrieving survivors from a crevasse-laden ice field, using a variety of aircraft, to the nearest AAD Base and then transfer to an airstrip is phenomenal – a five day retrieval of over 5000km. By all reports the expeditioners are doing well, a credit to the expertise of the AAD. No doubt an ATSB report will be released in due course – but to survive a crash on a remote ice field is impressive.

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The A319 used to transport injured expeditioners is on a groomed ice runway

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Have a listen to Jamie talk about his experiences.

 

Click HERE to download

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