Labour of love ends after 40 years
AFTER nearly 40 years of working as an obstetrician and gynaecologist in the Lismore area, Doctor Brendan O'Sullivan has decided to call it a day.
Having helped around 5000 souls into the world, Dr O'Sullivan still remembers the first baby he ever delivered.
“It was when I was a student in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital,” he recounted. “Those days the doctor had to sit with the woman through an entire labour.
“Later on we had to help clean up the room and sheets. It was good grounding.
“The baby was a girl and she would easily be in her 40s now.”
Dr O'Sullivan has seen many changes in his area of expertise since arriving in the Lismore area in 1970.
“In the early days there would have been lucky to be five per cent of women having caesarean sections,” he said. “Now in some areas it can be up to 40pc of women who have a caesar, many of them by choice.”
Dr O'Sullivan realised he had been in the industry for quite some time when a patient once commented that his father had delivered her.
“In actual fact it was me she was talking about,” he laughed. “I had delivered her and now I was delivering her baby.”
One of the most memorable deliveries the good doctor had to make resulted in a 6kg baby.
“We were exceptionally busy that night,” Dr O'Sullivan said. “There were no labour rooms available so the poor woman was waiting in the corridor.
“She was determined to have the baby vaginally, so as she went into labour there's a student holding one leg and me on the other as she pushed.
“When this hefty baby came out the student had tears in his eyes. It was a very positive experience.”
Dr O'Sullivan said he has one regret in that he was saddened by the state of the health system and the rate it was going backwards on the North Coast.
“It's unfortunate to see the exodus of skilful people within the area,” he said.
“Whether more qualified medical people come to the area depends on whether we have any improvements in the health system.”
And what does a doctor plan to do in his retirement?
“I'll be following up on some of my athletic interests,” he said. “Such as tennis, swimming, walking and golf.
“I'll also get to spend more time with the grandkids.”