Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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HomeVolume 29Pus and blood doctors in bush, state-of-the-art theatre in town

Pus and blood doctors in bush, state-of-the-art theatre in town


Some of my friends in the health industry servicing Indigenous clients in remote communities were perplexed by the seeming disregard clients had for their wellbeing despite regular attendance at clinics.

“Pus and blood doctors” recounted doctor friend, Howard Goldenberg.

“That’s all we are good for,” he bemoaned, citing the lack of effective follow up, the linguistic shortcomings frustrating effective ministration, and his bush clients’ radically different premises of health care.

He knew that in many instances he was a last resort after clients had consulted their local angangkere traditional healer.

Occupancy rates give the impression that Alice Spring’s public hospital is dedicated almost exclusively to Aboriginal health. Not so. But, as with the gaol, indigenous numbers comprise the majority.

Eva Hayes, Virginia Perkins on crutches, Lilla Miller and sons look on as Noelly Johnson on bended knees, pleads for attention. At the time of the photo in 2009, he was in and out of hospital with a painful foot, none the wiser about its cause or treatment.

The painting meant to amplify the irrelevance Howard sometimes felt remote doctoring. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised at Noelly’s response. “That doctor got it right. Him listening to country.”

Meanwhile Minister for Health Selena Uibo announced today in a media statement a “state-of-the-art hybrid operating theatre” at Alice Springs Hospital.

Alice and Darwin based business Scope Building NT will construct the $7.9m facility based on “contemporary and innovative technology” and will including a scrub room, control room, store room and plant room, says Ms Uibo.

The theatre will reduce the elective surgery wait times and the number of patients transferred interstate.

The project is set to be completed by the end of the year.

IMAGE: Agony in the Garden, 2009, by ROD MOSS.


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