Oz surgeons to swim for PNG doctors

National, Normal

A DUO from the Perth Orthopaedic Institute have been training intensively for the upcoming WAtoday Rottnest Channel Swim so they can raise money to send vital neurosurgical equipment and other medical tools to Papua New Guinea, reports www.WAtoday.com.au.
The Kimbe Crawlers – named after the town in PNG that benefited from the institute’s support last year – will comprise orthopaedic surgeons David Wood and Richard Carey Smith.
The pair will head to PNG for two weeks this October to offer their surgical and educational expertise to local doctors and patients.
Prof Wood first visited PNG in 1979 as a medical student to study infectious diseases.
He has been back every year since 2004, while this year will be Mr Carey Smith’s third trip to PNG.
During the past five years, Prof Wood has overseen the transport of donated equipment including two CT scanners, eight portable x-ray machines and three x-ray screening machines to hospitals in Port Moresby and nearby towns.
The institute also helped their partners in PNG purchase a radiotherapy machine for the hospital in Lae, Morobe province.
With the constant support of AusAID and Orthopaedic Outreach – a charity organisation – the Perth Orthopaedic Institute has provided A$3 million (K7.5 million) worth of equipment to PNG in the past five years.
This year, however, Prof Wood and Mr Carey Smith will be embarking on the
gruelling 19.2km swim across the ocean to try to raise money for the transport of more
medical equipment.
This year will be Prof Wood’s sixth swim while it is his colleague’s first. Mr Carey Smith was ready to compete in the 2007 event before it was cancelled.
In his year-round preparation, Prof Wood has been swimming from Floreat to City Beach and back about four times a week and he sees this event as a warm-up for the English Channel in July, where he will team up with three others in the relay swim.
“If I manage this, I will be able to go ahead with the Channel swim,” the father-of-three, 54, said.
The swim will also mark the last week of singledom for Mr Carey Smith, 38, who will be tying the knot a week later.
The main aim of this year’s Rottnest swim is to raise money to send the new equipment – including beds – to PNG inside a 40ft container.
“What is holding us back is money,” Prof Wood said, adding it would cost about A$15,000 (K37,500) to transport the equipment.