October 9th 2007
Dr Sarah makes a reluctant farewell
It has been nine years since Dr Sarah Lythgoe began work on Magnetic Island but, after moving to Townsville so her family could lessen their commuting times to school and work some months ago, Dr Sarah has now finished work at the Magnetic Island Medical Centre.
"I never intended to stay. We came over on holidays because I was looking for somewhere to take maternity leave. We were then going to return to Britain." said Sarah. But, like many a Magnetic tale one hears, somehow, she and her partner, Paul Wood, bought a house in Horseshoe Bay instead.
Sarah had been working for two and a half years previously at the isolated Aboriginal settlement of Doomadgee, but saw that a job for a doctor had been advertised for the Magnetic Island Health Service Centre (the Clinic). It seemed an offer she couldn't resist.
In 1999 however, on the way home from work, a drunken driver was coming in the other direction and struck Dr Sarah's car on the culvert crossing Petersen Creek at Geoffrey Bay. Her car was knocked into the creek bed where she suffered from some very serious injuries and was evacuated by the team she worked with to Townsville Hospital.
But being a very fit and healthy individual with a positive outlook Sarah Lythgoe pulled through but returned home to the Shetland Islands for a year. Later, on her return, she began work in 2002 at the MI Medical Centre with Dr Angela Moore.
When asked if she thought there were any health-related issues which she thought were distinctive to Magnetic Island, Dr Lythgoe, who acknowledged the great support provided by MI Community Care, said, "It's a disservice that the Island is not being regarded as 'rural'". Such a classification would see more hospital-like services available. "Just getting an x-ray done (which requires travel to Townsville) and getting taxis to and from hospitals makes it hard for the elderly and really sick patients."
"I will definitely move back one day. It's a very difficult place to leave. It's a lovely community and I'd definitely prefer living here," says Sarah. But with her sons Mark and Michael attending school in Townsville and partner Paul teaching in Townsville it is more practical to live there for now. Sarah is considering a couple of job opportunities at present including medical teaching and work with Aboriginal health. "But I'll miss being a GP so I may change my mind."
Story & photo: George Hirst
Photographed were: Receptionist Bev Quigley, RN Lisa Davis, Dr Sarah Lythgoe, Dr Angela Moore and Receptionist Ken Douglas from the MI Medical Centre team on hand to farewell Dr Lythgoe.
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