Obstetrician to Introduce New Services in Portland

From left: Dr Ghazala Irshad & Dr David Morris (Obstetrician & Gynaecologist)
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Portland’s new obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr David Morris is hoping for a bit less adventure in his new role.

After dealing with pre-teen pregnancies and flights in small planes in outback Western Australia, Dr Morris is looking forward to keeping his feet firmly on the ground and introducing new services for Portland district women.

Dr Morris starts at Portland District Health on July 2, easing pressure on the existing service and creating more opportunities for local births.

Dr Morris is a Fellow of the Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He completed his specialised training in England where he also did a doctorate in the immunology of ovarian cancer.

He was the consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Horsham for eight years until 2007 before leaving to care for his ailing mother.

Since returning to the workforce in 2008 he has worked for clinics doing day gynaecology, day surgery at the Bendigo hospital and locum work.

His last locum work took him to Karratha in Western Australia. There you're dealing with 12 or 13 year old Indigenous girls who are having babies and miner's wives saying they'd like the baby tomorrow, he said.

He also did the flying gynaecology service based in Roma. They flew me around to these small hospitals with far fewer facilities than you have in Portland. We just had to cope.

However, a close encounter with a fatal air crash was enough to convince him to look for another option.

Two cattle guys flew out in their Cessna at night but their engine stalled and they crashed and died. When we flew over the wreck the next day I decided I'm not coming back here again; I don't want to be in anything smaller than a jumbo.

Dr Morris has enjoyed serving rural communities.

The big cities are quite competitive,he said. There are a lot of women who want complicated surgery and there is a big consumer demand for instant surgery because of the busy lifestyle. They want to come in, get fixed and get out the same day.

Thats much more stressful than in the country where you can take your time to explain things properly.

He also appreciated the lower infection rates of smaller hospitals. If you don't want a secondary infection, go to a regional hospital, not a big city hospital.

The recruitment of Dr Morris will lead to fewer gaps in the Portland-based birthing service and allow more women including first-time mothers to have their babies in town.

“I am looking forward to helping more women to have their babies in their local community, he said.

Dr Morris said he was also looking forward to establishing a colposcopy and mirena clinic.

Women are leaving Portland and going to Warrnambool for that at the moment, he said.

I'm bringing with me my examination couch and a colposcope, so that is a bonus.

Dr Morris said women with high risk conditions would still be referred to larger hospitals.

Portland looks very nice. I look forward to enjoying the lifestyle, getting the clinics going, getting more women to stay there and have their babies, he said.

The other thing I look forward to is paddling up the Glenelg River in my sea kayak.

Dr Morris joins Drs Ghazala Irshad and Fariha Irshad and experienced midwives in the expanded PDH maternity team.

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