Rheumatic heart disease going undiagnosed by NT’s fly-in doctors, cardiologist warns

The Northern Territory is home to some of the highest known rates of rheumatic heart disease in the world, but the transient nature of the region’s medical practitioners could be hindering the fight to stop it.

The entirely preventable condition affects mainly Indigenous people living in remote areas, and in the Arnhem Land community of Maningrida, children as young as four have died from the disease.

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Prof. Patrick McGorry thinks the enormous economic and personal strain of mental illness in Australia calls for a radical re-imagining of how we treat it.

Every year in Australia around 3,000 people die from suicide. Most have sought help from our health system, but it has failed them and their bereaved families and friends. Suicide clusters hidden from public view are claiming the lives of large numbers of young people in regional and metropolitan Australia.  If these deaths were due to a viral epidemic or road trauma there would be decisive action.

However, suicide is the just tip of a massive iceberg. Four million Australians experience mental illness every year and it impacts nearly all families.  With 690,000 experiencing severe mental illness, it is the largest cause of disability, yet less than 10 per cent can access the NDIS. Mental illness causes nearly 15 per cent of the health burden, similar to heart disease and cancer, yet it is allocated just over 5 per cent of the health budget.

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Top End community reels after petrol sniffing death of 12-year-old-boy

A TIGHT-KNIT Top End community has been left reeling after the petrol sniffing death of a 12-year-old-boy.

The young boy was reportedly found by family members unresponsive in the back of a car in the East Arnhem Land community of Gapuwiyak earlier this week.

Senior Sergeant Dan Whitfield-Jones told Gove FM on Thursday that after discovering the boy, his family took him inside and started CPR, called the clinic and police.

Australian-first journey uses ‘ICU fit for the skies’ to save critically ill baby

Cradled in his mother’s arms, Davey Marika is just six weeks old and barely knows life outside of hospital walls.

He has yet to lay eyes on his home town of Nhulunbuy, and many of his family back in that coastal community at one point thought they would never see him alive.

Two hospitals at opposite ends of the country have coordinated an Australian-first rescue journey to save the infant, using new technology they hope will improve the survival rate of critically ill babies across the Northern Territory.

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New nurses commence their careers in the Top End

Twenty six new nurses will hit the ground running across the Territory this month, after graduating from the Top End Health Service (TEHS) Graduate Nurse Program.

The Graduate Nurse Program is designed to support nurses during the transition to employment after university, where they’re provided with an opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge with support from mentors and senior staff.

NT announces its ban on fracking will end

The Northern Territory government has lifted a ban on hydraulic fracturing of onshore gas that will open up more than half of the territory’s land mass to the controversial.

In March 2015, the New York Department of Health recommended a ban on hydraulic fracturing because of unknown risks to environmental and public health.

A report by a British charity, CHEM trust, that investigated the potential impact of chemicals, found fracking poses a significant risk to both human health and the environment.

According to the Australian Institute, the potential health impacts associated with fracking chemicals include cancer, skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, damage to the nervous system, cells and blood, endocrine disruption and reproductive problems.

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Budding GPs get a taste of bush life to combat remote doctor shortage

A unique medical program in the Northern Territory has found a simple way to combat a shortage of skilled GPs willing to work in the bush.

Giving students a taste of bush life early in their training means doctors are more likely to take up positions in remote areas later on in their careers, according to Flinders University.

The Northern Territory Medical Program, run through the university, allows medical students to complete part of their study in a remote community health setting, with a focus on Indigenous health exposure.

As part of the partnership, budding GPs spend four months at various hospitals, including Gove in East Arnhem Land, around 900 kilometres from Darwin.

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Not all doctors agree my patient deserved his kidney transplant. They’re wrong

Just before Christmas 2016, a 68-year-old man received a kidney transplant, one of 1,091 Australians that year.

However, as an Aboriginal Australian, he was one of only six over the age of 65 to receive a kidney transplant in the past 20 years. In fact, he was the second-oldest ever.

Should my patient have received a kidney? Many of my kidney specialist colleagues apparently don’t think so.

Not only have some told me so, but national transplant data shows an Indigenous Australian from a remote or very remote area has only a tenth the chance of a kidney transplant as a non-Indigenous patient from the same region.

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