A second chance at life

The other night I met a lovely lady called Teresa and her husband Andrew.  Teresa works in the Call Centre at the Manukau SuperClinic, and earlier this year underwent a double lung transplant, recovering at Auckland’s Hearty Towers – a rehabilitation unit for transplant patients.  While Teresa’s life has now dramatically changed for the better, for example she’s currently in training for her first duathalon, her journey starts back in August 2013.  It was during this time that Teresa picked up a virus called RSV. RSV is a respiratory virus that infects your lungs and breathing passages, and while most healthy people, manage to bounce back, Teresa wasn’t so lucky, ending up in Intensive Care.

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Loss of talented man and special friend – Geoff Coldham

Geoff Coldham

Geoff Coldham

On Tuesday 21 July, 2015 CM Health and the New Zealand orthopaedic community tragically lost an esteemed colleague and great friend, Geoff Coldham. Geoff spent the last 25 years at Middlemore, 15 of those as a very dedicated surgeon, developing highly specialised skills in spinal surgery and showing a deep passion for this specialty area. Geoff’s commitment and presence at Middlemore began as far back as the early 1990’s as a House Officer and then a Registrar, commencing as an Orthopaedic Consultant in 1999.

Geoff was a highly respected and skilled surgeon, delivering care with the utmost professionalism, knowledge and integrity with a drive for excellence in care. As a strong advocate for best clinical practice for spinal patients and as a key member of the Middlemore Hospital spinal service he played a major role in CM Health becoming one of only two Regional Spinal Cord Impairment services in New Zealand.

With exceptional leadership qualities Geoff developed a very high-profile career over many years as the Secretary of the NZ National Spine Society, developing a reputation as a man with superb organisational skills and one of the best for putting together teaching, conferences, meetings and events. He is recognised internationally as a skilled and experienced surgeon in complex spinal surgery and has bridged the world’s geographical distances, successfully bringing the international spinal community closer. He was responsible for creating the inaugural joint meeting of the NZ, Australian and Canadian spine societies.

Geoff’s life was entwined throughout the lives of the orthopaedic department as a much-loved and cherished friend and mate, sharing many a round of golf and regular tennis matches on Thursday nights. Geoff was an extremely competitive fishing buddy sharing many great times on the water and tales of the sea.

He was a very much-loved husband of Diana and special dad of son Hunter and daughter Madison with an enormous drive and commitment to their many interests and achievements throughout their lives.

Geoff was loved by all and will forever be a part of Middlemore history and memories.


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Dancing with the real ‘stars’

Last month, I was fortunate to be introduced to Winnie, an extraordinary lady, who had recently celebrated her 100th birthday. While this is an incredible feat, it seems reaching the grand old age of 100 seems to be more common these days.

What impressed me most about Winnie was the love, care and devotion of Laura, her daughter and full-time carer. Hearing the personal sacrifices her daughter made was a humbling experience. Laura explained how she gave up her job when her mother required constant care. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of Laura’s doing this throughout New Zealand.

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The power of family

Penina and

Penina and David

For some people making big changes in their lives can be sparked off by a health event.  For others, it’s about looking at the bigger picture.

For 37-year-old Penina, her motivation to improve her health was spurred on by her son.  As a single mum whose health was spiralling out of control, she suddenly woke up one morning and thought who would look after her son if she wasn’t around.  Penina had a powerful vision to change her life, for the better.  This is her story.

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Volunteers at the ‘Heart’ of CM Health

Our volunteers do a wonderful job, and it was great to see this acknowledged during National Volunteer Week (21-27 June).  To top off the week, our Manukau SuperClinic (MSC) volunteers were runner-ups at the 2015 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  Presenting the Award for ‘Health care provider service volunteer team’ was Associate Health Minister Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “This award shows what people can do when they work together,” said Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “You are indeed the face behind great customer service.”

While it was great for our MSC volunteers to be recognised, all of our volunteers at CM Health offer their time generously to help patients and visitors throughout our various sites.  Being the first face, our visitors see as they come through the doors, a warm welcome, and a smile from a volunteer does wonders for a person, who may be vulnerable, anxious or unsure where to go.

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Recognising our hard working House Officers

Dr Neil Stewart

Dr Neil Stewart

Each month a House Officer is nominated by members of the clinical and wider multidisciplinary team for the prestigious title of ‘House Officer of the Month’.  It’s an award that has grown in popularity since it first started in 2011, bringing with it a sense of a ‘job well done’ for the doctors who are nominated.  Last month (May) Dr Neil Stewart received the Award, after being nominated by his colleagues during his General Medicine rotation on Tiitoki team.  Words like committed, hardworking, dedicated, professional and friendly were just some of the comments people shared.  One person said, “We need more doctors like him.”

So what does it take to be a House Officer in a busy hospital?  Neil shares his thoughts about why he decided to become a doctor and his passion for the work that he does.

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APAC returns to New Zealand. An explosion of innovative health and healthcare success stories

APACNo doubt you’ve heard of the APAC Forum, managed by Ko Awatea, the centre for health system innovation and improvement at CM Health. Now in its fourth year APAC, is already the third largest healthcare improvement conference in the world.It’s right up there with similar conferences in Europe and the US.  We are certainly not a poor relative!

This year APAC returns to New Zealand. Taking place over three days, 23 to 25 September at Auckland’s SKYCity, the conference will bring some of the biggest names in healthcare improvement to our shores.

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