Man vs the Monsoon

Note: The purpose of this site if to provide free open access medical education (FOAMed) in the context of rural and remote health. Though all stories have been inspired by real cases, all identifying details such as names, ages, locations and background descriptions have been thoroughly changed to ensure the absolute privacy of the patients, families and communities we serve.

The Situation

The monsoonal rains had been keeping most people indoors, the storm had been roaring and the seas were rough. The soon-to-be-patient was a 45 year old Australian crew member working on a Chinese container ship passing through the northern Torres Strait. He had been soaked by the storm while attempting to secure a dinghy to a pilot boat that was traveling with the main ship. On his approach to the boat a large wave washed over the dinghy and tipped it backwards and then upside down into the ocean while the motor was running. The man was dragged underneath the dinghy. He attempted to surface, but came up against resistance of the hull of the pilot ship. Disoriented, he dove again, trying to find a way to the surface and avoid the hazards of the propeller and other boat.  Eventually he surfaced with air above him and whilst being tussled in the waves grabbed onto one of the tires hanging from the pilot boat. He held on tightly to the tire as the wave crashed over him. Sometimes the waves went over his head, he swallowed water and he gasped for air. The sole crew-mate with him was unable to pull him back on board. Continue reading “Man vs the Monsoon”

The Flying Death Adder

Note: The purpose of this site if to provide free open access medical education (FOAMed) in the context of rural and remote health. Though all stories have been inspired by real cases, all identifying details such as names, ages, locations and background descriptions have been thoroughly changed to ensure the absolute privacy of the patients, families and communities we serve.

The Situation:

The school day had ended, and dusk was approaching on one of the pristine islands in the Torres Strait.  A 10-year-old girl and her friends were slowly making their way home when they came across a death adder on the road. The group armed themselves with sticks and approached the snake. Making a game of it, the snake was flicked into the air with a stick and landed on the road again. On the second throw, the snake was inadvertently hurtled directly at the girl by her twin brother. Its fangs collided with her index finger of her open hand leaving one tooth lodged in the pulp.

Continue reading “The Flying Death Adder”

24 Hours as the On-call Doctor in the Torres Strait

 Note: The purpose of this site if to provide free open access medical education (FOAMed) in the context of rural and remote health. Though all stories have been inspired by real cases, all identifying details such as names, ages, locations and background descriptions have been thoroughly changed to ensure the absolute privacy of the patients, families and communities we serve.

24 Hours as the Doctor On-call in the Torres Strait

Manning the on-call phone for the Torres Strait is one of my favourite jobs. There is a doctor rostered to this job at all times and entails being the first point of call for any medical query in the region.

The Background

The Torres Strait is a spectacular group of remote islands located at the very tip of Queensland between Cape York and Papua New Guinea. The most northern islands are only 4km offshore from the PNG mainland. The region spans 48,000 square kilometres, which is an area bigger that Switzerland or Holland, and is comprised of 274 islands though only 17 are inhabited. The Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) comprises five communities on the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula. The population of approximately 14,000 are spread over the Torres Strait islands and communities in the NPA. Continue reading “24 Hours as the On-call Doctor in the Torres Strait”