Friday, November 01, 2013

Doctor glides with eagles but keeps grounding in care

Image: Tranquillity in the skies. Courtesy of

PATIENTS and their families, stressed by illness and fearful of the consequences, may look to their doctors for a "magic bullet" solution. Many undoubtedly award the family doctor a godlike status and may tend to forget he or she is human too, suffering from ill health and stresses in their own lives and having to put all aside to get on with their job of helping others. The profession of general practitioner with the important role of managing conditions, minor and major, in the young and old must rate highly on the stress scale, so it was interesting to learn how one Redland GP unwinds after a heavy week dealing with others' problems.
THE joy of peaceful relaxation reflects Dr John Tucker's voice as he talks about his glider flights over the Scenic Rim. "It's such an amazing experience – you can ascend to the cloud base and fly in circles with the eagles," he says. "It is very important to have downtime like that, and to have a quality of life." Victoria Point Surgery's patients would have noted the recent Public Notice announcing Dr Tucker's return, or heard the gentle British accent calling for his next patient. The London-trained GP is certainly pleased to be back on the bayside, where he and wife Lisa, a theatre nurse, brought their young family in 2003, looking for that quality of life.
DR Tucker has had a long commitment to health care. Born in Mozambique as the son of a cashew factory manager and reared in the Channel Islands after the African political climate changed, he wanted to be a doctor from a young age. He says that after obtaining his degree at London Hospital and first looking to a surgical specialty, he was fortunate to work with Dr Peter Tait, who was prominent in changing medical thinking from and "old fashioned patrician-type approach" to one that was "patient sensitive". "That means involving the patient in their care, not just giving them a prescription and just saying, 'Take that and come back next week'," he says. Dr Tucker says Victoria Point Surgery is "very much focused on being a family practice" where the GPs know their patients and their families, and offer a continuity that some corporate practices may lack.
JOHN Tucker has returned to the Redlands with renewed commitment, after the recent deaths of both his parents and the pressures of being a carer for a loved one with terminal illness. The glider pilot admits that experience has been a 'grounding' and an insight into the demanding, full-time job that carers must endure.
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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