Paediatrician Dr. Tim Warnock and Cairns’ longest serving obstetrician, Dr. Tom Wright have now reached 30 years of working together at Cairns Private Hospital. We got to ask them some questions about their interesting work in the world of pregnancy, deliveries and babies. Read on to see what these talented men had to say.
What drew you into the field? Were you always interested in pursuing a career in health/medicine? As I understand, you both followed in father’s footsteps.
Dr Warnock: Yes – family tradition
Dr Wright: As a child, one both wants and doesn’t want to copy one’s parents. It wasn’t until I was studying Psychology at university in the early 1970s that I realised that I wanted to become a doctor like my Father. Fortunately, I was able to switch courses to Medicine.
Were there any stigma/extra challenges you had to deal with as a male in your field?
Dr Warnock – No.
Dr Wright: When I became an obstetrician, it was a male-dominated career with very few women. Now, the numbers are reversed; the profession is female-dominated with only a few men becoming obstetricians. I gained a wealth of knowledge about birth from both my male obstetric teachers and colleagues and also from experienced midwives who were keen to pass their wisdom on to an interested, young doctor.
What are your favourite parts and/or most rewarding parts of your work?
Dr Warnock: Dealing with families
Dr Wright: The favourite part of my work is seeing the overwhelming joy on the faces of both new parents when they first view their newborn child. The most rewarding part is being trusted by parents to deliver more than one of their children and also, I am in the enviable position to be asked to “Deliver children of children I Delivered”.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?
Dr Warnock: Bureaucracy
Dr Wright: Not all pregnancies have happy endings. The biggest challenge facing every obstetrician is helping a couple find peace after losing a baby. A baby lost, is always a baby lost, whether that be at 12 weeks, 20 weeks or 40 weeks of pregnancy.
What is your favourite part of working in Cairns / Far North Queensland?
Dr Warnock: It’s my home
Dr Wright: I grew up in Cairns and attended Trinity Bay High School. I returned here in 1990 and joined Doctor Michael Carette and Doctor Bob Miller as obstetricians and gynaecologists. Working in Cairns/far north Queensland provides the perfect work lifestyle balance. The commute to work is short. The ability to escape work (when not on call) is easy. Reef, rainforest and the tablelands all beckon enticingly for weekend getaways, all less than a 2-hour drive. Try that in any Australian capital city!
Do you have your own children?
Dr Warnock: Yes, 3 sons
Dr Wright: Yes, two children and four grandchildren and no I didn’t deliver my own kids. I also stayed well away from my grandchildren’s birth until I was invited to visit and admire the new family member.
What is it like to witness a birth? Does it become an emotional experience for you?
Dr Warnock: Amazing. Yes, I never tire of it.
Dr Wright: As a professional, it is my job to make every birth an emotional experience for the participants. This is especially true for the parents, but also for attending midwives and doctors. As a teacher, it is my duty to impart my love of assisting at a birth to future doctors and midwives.
What lead you to work in the field for so long? What do you think is special/unique about your field(s)?
Dr Warnock: I enjoy my work, have good family support and many friends in the workplace. I enjoy seeing good outcomes and being able to follow up children from birth through to the end of school.
Dr Wright: There are two answers to this one! One, the variety that comes with being both an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Being able to help women at all stages of their lives is a great privilege. Two, by establishing a career that has now spanned 3 decades, I have been given so many more emotional and psychological rewards by my clients than I ever imagined was possible (not to mention bottles of wine and chocolates!).
Have you had a favourite experience at work? What was it?
Dr Warnock: Continuity of care. Being able to see infants blossom into young men and woman.
Dr Wright: My most memorable experience was being accosted at Cairns Central by a proud beaming mother whilst an embarrassed, spotty teenager cowers behind her as she announces to all the passers by “You Doctor, are responsible for this!”
What is your favourite part about working with each other?
Dr Warnock: Banter at caesarian sections!
Dr Wright: Trust. Knowing Tim has “got my back” in cases where both our skills are required to achieve a good outcome for new parents allows me to sleep at night.
You can find copies of Dr Warnock and Dr Wright’s new book in Dr Warnock’s rooms, Flecker House, 5 Upward St, Cairns City.