Surgical tradies scrub up well

Surgical tradies scrub up well

Video transcript


This patient is suffering from a painful swollen belly and needs urgent medical attention.

It’s a scenario that could happen in Antarctica.
Dr Natasha will be the station doctor at Casey over winter.
>> Dr Natasha Behrendorff, Casey medical officer 2019-2020: Obviously in Antarctica, I’ve got to be the person who either delegates it to someone else or does it.

At each Australian Antarctic research station, there’s one doctor and no nurses.

So each year before they head south, Royal Hobart Hospital trains expeditioners as Lay Surgical Assistants to help the doctor in medical emergencies.

>> Daniel Dardha, Casey plumber 2019-2020: It’s been a massive learning curve, it’s something totally different from being a plumber on the job site to coming into the Hobart hospital, and everyone’s been great here too.

Plumber Daniel finds a bit in common with his day job.

>> Daniel Dardha: Because I was on the anaesthetic side of things, working with the ventilator, so it’s all just air and oxygen and in and out, don’t get them crossed up and make sure there’s no leaks and you’re pretty right to go aren’t you. Q: Just like air-conditioning? A: That’s plumbing, just in a fancy looking box.

Carpenter Glen is on the tools.

>> Glen Pretious, Casey carpenter 2019-2020: Scrub nurse, assisting the surgeon, keeping a sterile field, handling all the instruments for the surgeon. Hand hygiene, as a chippie you don’t normally have clean hands, but you certainly do here.

There are new things for the doctor to learn too.

>> Dr Natasha Behrendorff: It’s interesting, I have to use different language, and guess always be aware they may not recognise when things are deteriorating in the same way that someone else with medical training might.  

With a nasty infected appendix removed, this patient will live to train another day.

>> Glen Pretious (Q: after this kind of training, what are you willing to take on?)

I’ll take on anything, after this training! (laughs)

[end transcript]

three people in an operating theatre with a mannequin
Dan Dardha (plumber), Jimmy Douglas (carpenter), and Dr Natasha Behrendorff (Casey station medical officer) undertake a simulated operation for Lay Surgical Assistant Training. (Photo: Mark Horstman)

On an Antarctic research station, there’s only one doctor and no nurses. In case of a medical emergency, it takes the plumber to be the anaesthetist, or the carpenter to be the scrub nurse.

Staff at the Royal Hobart Hospital do a phenomenal job preparing our Antarctic expeditioners to be Lay Surgical Assistants, as part of a globally unique training program.

This week Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the Australian Space Agency and NASA, and the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, that highlight areas of cooperation in the space industry and the proposed Moon to Mars mission.

The MoU includes recognition of the specialist capabilities that Tasmania brings to remote medicine as pioneered by the Australian Antarctic Division, and further developed by the Centre for Antarctic, Remote and Maritime Medicine (CARMM).