Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Measuring Up Retirement; Alina Rylko Reports Respected Surgeon Is Preparing for a New Lifestyle

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Measuring Up Retirement; Alina Rylko Reports Respected Surgeon Is Preparing for a New Lifestyle

Article excerpt

RESPECTED senior orthopedic surgeon Dr Doug Turner has retired after 30 years of mending bones, replacing hips and soothing joints at the Tweed Hospital.

Feeling "ambivalent" about finally hanging up his stethoscope, or rather, putting down his drill, Dr Turner said he took many wonderful memories into retirement.

He can vividly recall arriving at Julia Creek, west of Townsville, in 1974 as a junior doctor on a government scholarship.

It was trial by fire for the 25-year-old, who one stormy night had to deliver a baby while taking obstetrics instructions over the phone from a gynaecologist.

"I was the only doctor in town and we were completely flooded in, with no way in or out of town," he recalls.

"This woman had a retained placenta.

"She was haemorrhaging so she needed some blood.

"In that day, with no blood bank, you had to ring every single one of the donors on the blood panel.

"They (blood donors) came to the hospital, I had to take their blood myself and give it to the woman.

"I had to do a manual removal of the placenta under local aesthetic, which normally you do under general aesthetic.

"It was very stressful, but mother and baby survived.

"I was very young and junior at the time, but you know, these sorts of things, things you're not equipped to deal with; having to make decisions, is good for any young doctor."

Six months later Dr Turner moved to Emerald where a curious interest in mechanics and carpentry inspired a goal to become a surgeon.

"Orthopedic surgery combined the two," he said.

"If you talk to carpenters they say 'measure twice, cut once'; that applies exactly to orthopaedics too."

In 1978 when Dr Turner progressed to the role of Orthopedic Registrar (a training job in surgery) at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Then, on a working holiday, he spent a year working in London and from there two years in New Zealand, where he progressed to surgery consultant.

"It was my first job as the boss and the first time I had to make the final decisions.

"It was a lot of responsibility and really stressful."

He left New Zealand for the Tweed and Murwillumbah hospitals in 1983, lured to the coast through his own fond memories as a university student. …

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