Doctor - Royal Navy & Royal Marines

What do you do for a living?

Consultant Accident & Emergency Medicine & Pre-Hospital Care, NHS, Royal Navy & Royal Marines

How did you get interested in what you do?

I'd love to say it was for a noble reason, BUT I honestly think it was because the GP in my village in Oxfordshire lived in a huge house and drove a cool looking red lotus. Therefore i am ashamed to say that i must have wanted to do it for the money - aged 8..............
I then wanted to be a doctor from aged 8 to med school entry at 18. After that i became interested in the Military, especially the Royal Marines because i loved skiing, climbing and arduous pursuits. Emergency Medicine attracted me because of the variety, excitement and the fact that it seemed to suit my personality.

I tried GP and didn't enjoy it and think i was the wrong personality to do this.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

Liverpool Med School 1985-1990
Short Career Commission 1990-1997 (Royal Navy & Royal Marines)
NHS 1997-2000
Full Career Commision 2000-date

Talk us through a day in your life 

NHS / Edinburgh - mostly consulting patients in the A&E department. Anything from minor cuts & bruises to severe trauma (eg Pedestrian Vs car), heart attacks, severe asthma, coma, agression, psychiatric illness, confusion, drug overdoses. All the time whilst leading a team of ~ 15 junior doctors and giving on the shop floor teaching all along. Also have management, research responsibilities etc.

Afghanistan - either flying out to front line in a Chinook helicopter and picking up soldiers who have been seriously maimed (shot, blown up etc) or leading the emergency department where they are all received in the large hospital in Helmand. This involves dealing with amputations, emergency anaesthetics, emergency surgery etc

Was this your planned career when you were 18?

Don't know. Just wanted to be a doctor at that stage BUT on 1st day of Med School met another Med Student who had already done his Commando Course and who really got me interested in doing the same thing - which i did.

What did your parents want you to do?

Be a doctor ! I was the first in the family.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

Work hard at school ! There's great variety in Medicine and many opportunities to suit all. HOWEVER, don't expect the job to be the same one you entered when you've spent 10-20 years in it. It's amazing how much it changes.

What other career directions could you go in?

Higher medical management in the MOD or NHS. However, i prefer continuing to see patients and get very frustrated with the immense bureaucracy of these 2 mammoth organisations.

Anything you have not covered about your area of expertise?

I am a (self appointed) world expert (!!) in the subject of Tension Pneumothorax with over 20 publications in international medical journals. This is where a collapsed lung places increasing pressure on the heart until the person dies - unless a doctor puts a hole into the chest wall in time. I am working with the American College of Surgeons to change the world recognised trauma teaching course that they wrote 20 years ago - because it's teaching on this particular subject is wrong.........