Health

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.