The last time Thomas worked in the Territory was during his final year as a medical student in 2009. In the space of six weeks in the Emergency Department at Royal Darwin Hospital, he saw a confirmed case of melioidosis, tertiary syphilis, and multiple (including paediatric) major traumas.
While these medical experiences might make others squirm, for Thomas it was a learning experience he never forgot.
“What I remember impressing me the most about the Territory was the leadership structures, general work ethos of healthcare professionals and the patient stories.”
After returning home to South Australia, Thomas has been working as a rural GP anaesthetist since 2015.
“Since then I have worked mostly in emergency and anaesthetics between Victor Harbour and Mount Barker. Last year I took a sabbatical with the South Australian Ambulance Service MedSTAR (emergency medical retrieval service).
“Working as a retrieval registrar fired my interest and passion in what can be done pre-hospital for our patients. Essentially I am known in South Australia as a wannabe paramedic!
“I saw the St John NT Chief Medical Officer role and the opportunity to have an impact in optimising outcomes in pre-hospital care appealed to me, especially the fact that it would be in an environmentally and clinically challenging environment.”
Thomas is looking forward to tackling challenges in his new role head-on, in particular the task of keeping St John NT at the front of the pre-hospital and retrieval space whilst continually working to improve provision of care.
“I’m looking forward to working in the Northern Territory again, especially the climate, the food and the people…in saying that, I don’t think I’m prepared for the build up!
“While I’ll miss weather appropriate to enjoying a glass of red, I know that beer weather will certainly make up for that.
The recent brief Darwin lockdown was not Thomas’ first.
“I experienced lockdowns last year. In some ways it was great to have a period of enforced catch up with self-care and nuclear family, but we also need to think about and reach out to those doing it alone, especially those alone in quarantine.”
Thomas is hunting for an invite to get out on and about on Territory waterways!
“I loved fishing, the five times I’ve been in my life! My family and I purchase Humpty Doo barra from the Adelaide Central Markets most weeks – would love to be able to get some locally, DIY if possible!
Perhaps unexpectedly, Thomas loves opera. He’s recently started listening to the ‘Aria Code’ podcast.
“I recommend the episode ‘Death is but a Dream’ about the song ‘E lucevan le stelle’ from my favourite opera, Tosca.”
For a fire-up song, anything by the Foo is Thomas’ pick!