Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

October 9th 2007
Dr Sarah makes a reluctant farewell

Dr Sarah at centre with the MIMC team 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.

To add your comment, see below

Dr Sarah makes a reluctant farewell
Wendy Tubman
October 9th 2007
All the very best Sarah. Thanks for your personal, professional and social input over the years. Just remember, the best view of Townsville is from the back of the ferry going home!

Sonia Patterson
October 9th 2007
Dr Sarah, you are a great GP. Thank you for all your medical advise, your caring nature and all your lovely smiles over the years. All the very best for you & your family in Townsville.
Anne C
October 9th 2007
Hey Sarah some people come some people go and then come back again - hope to see you back again. All the best
Rania Heke
October 9th 2007
Dear Sarah,

Sending you warm wishes, and good luck for your next adventure. I will remember you as a kind and caring GP and neighbour.
Anne McCafferty
October 11th 2007
All the best Sarah for the future. I wish I had you down where I live now on the Coffs Coast.
Cheers Anne (former patient from Maggie)
Pam Blanchard
October 12th 2007
I wish you all the best Sarah. Having now lived on the Gold Coast since June 2006, I wish you were my GP down here. You were always so very thorough. (fomer patient from Magnetic Island)
lesley McGill
October 15th 2007
Dear Sarah,
I will certainly miss you Sarah. You have been one of the most caring and thorough doctors I have ever met, in all the places I have lived in the world.
Please come back soon. I wish you all the best in your new venture.
Regards ,
Lesley McGill.

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