Tamworth orthopaedic surgeon David Healey wins top Hunter New England award

HEALING POWER: Tamworth hospital orthopaedic surgeon David Healey has won a Hunter New England Health leadership award. Photo: Peter Hardin 120918PHC004
HEALING POWER: Tamworth hospital orthopaedic surgeon David Healey has won a Hunter New England Health leadership award. Photo: Peter Hardin 120918PHC004

DAVID Healey says he’s had three wins today.

That’s three successful surgeries.

As an orthopaedic surgeon at Tamworth hospital, there might have been a time where wins where harder to come by with bulging surgical wait lists.

But Dr Healey has made a habit of winning since moving to town from Canada, inside and outside of the theatres.

He was recently named Hunter New England Local Health District’s collaborative leader of the year.

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Ascending to the top of one’s game is akin to seeing a turtle on a fence post, he said.

“It didn’t get there by itself,” he said.

“I can sustain a high level of quality healthcare for a brief period time, individually.

“As a team, we can deliver high quality healthcare as a long term plan.

“That’s why I’ve said it’s not really about me.”

Dr Healey has spent 25 years as on-call surgeon, bringing composure and healing amidst peak moments of calamity and histrionics in strangers’ lives.

But his motivation and inspiration reaches outside the theatres.

Despite the demands, he said his daughter had just applied for medical school aiming to become an orthopaedic surgeon too, which is “quite the compliment”.

“She’s probably luckier than most because she sees what I do, the hours I keep and how hard you have to work, but she also sees the rewards of it.

“By that, I mean the patients when they come around.”

Transplanting himself here from Canada, Dr Healey said the practice was more of a wild ride, from day one down under.

“I thought when I moved here to Tamworth, there’s no snow, I’m going to be bored as heck, there’s going to be no injuries,” he said.

“When I first moved here, the first weekend, I had a guy bucked off a bull, another guy rammed into a fence by a cow, another guy butt in the knee by a sheep and another one thrown off a horse.”

Sport is good for business too, in Tamworth.

“Rugby would put my daughters through university, I would imagine,” he said.

Dr Healey said being able to teach the next generation of surgeons is a big draw-card for sticking around in Tamworth.

By instilling a good work ethic, there’s a peace of mind derived from knowing healthcare is in safe hands.

“I always say, in medicine, you shouldn’t learn by your mistakes all the time because there’s a lot of patients in the wake of that disaster,” he said.

“Mostly it’s positives and wins and if you can teach and inspire somebody and they learn from what you teach them.”

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