Another world

One Sunday morning many, many years ago I sat in bible class at the church that we attended as kids. It was the middle of summer in Townsville, North Queensland. It was before air conditioning. The roof of the church hall was corrugated iron. It wasn't even 10 o'clock but you could have fried an egg on it. Not the most conducive learning atmosphere for a teenage boy, but I was enthralled. This particular morning, we weren't engaged in a dissection of the New Testament. We had a visitor. A missionary surgeon – Dr Barry Hicks. He'd been in Ethiopia and he was regaling us with dissection tales of his own. The highlight for me came when he described draining an abscess in some poor fellow’s

The delicate art of screwing up

Most people would say that there are two certainties in life – death and taxes. I would argue that there are at least three – death, taxes and the fact that at some point in your life, you’re going to screw up big. Now if your screw up is that you get done for drink driving or you have an affair and get caught – that’s pretty big and the fall out is immense but what if you almost kill someone. In 1995 I was an intern at a busy regional hospital in Queensland. The hours were long but I loved the fact that I was eventually a doctor. One Saturday evening about 4 months into my job I was working the long day shift and was due to finish at 10pm. I had been doing ward rounds and paperwork all day

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