Nursing broken hearts over loss

CARING: Enid Scott at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital in 2008. ENID was born one very hot New Year’s Day in the back bedroom of her parent’s cottage at East Maitland and died on March 12, 2017, at home. We can’t tell you the exact date of her birth because this was Enid’s closely guarded secret and we aren’t about to share it.
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Enid was our employer, our colleague, our mentor and our friend. Collectively we have known her for 80 years.

Enid trained as a registered nurse at the Maitland Hospital and completed her midwifery certificate at Crown Street Women’s Hospital. Enid’s long association with Lake Macquarie Private Hospital (LMPH) began in 1969 when she and her then husband John Scott, now deceased, were involved in the construction of the hospital. When the doors opened in 1973 Enid was the matron, complete with white uniform and starched white veil. This was a position she held for the next 32 years. For the first 15 years she worked the dual role of ward sister and matron and because she and the family lived onsite she was on 24-hour call. Stories abound of her being called in the early hours of the morning and her arriving on the ward resplendent in uniform, veil and lipstick – standards had to be maintained.

When you applied for a position at LMPH Enid would interview you. It didn’t matter what the position was, she wanted to know that you reflected her values and that you would fit into her culture of optimal patient care. She had developed a culture that was inclusive, respectful, caring, professional and friendly. Also you had to be able to walk fast as every interview was followed by a quick tour of the hospital. Unbeknownst to the applicant one of the criteria for any position was to “keep up” with Enid.

She instilled in all of us a great sense of pride in our duties and the hospital. We all felt valued and an integral part of the team, regardless of our role.

During Enid’s time at LMPH there were significant changes. The hospital grew from being a 36-bed general surgical hospital, employing 24 staff members in 1973, to a 118-bed advanced surgical hospital with over 400 staff in 2004 when Enid stepped aside from the role of Director of Nursing.

Regardless of how “high tech” the hospital became one thing remained the same – the hospital was there for the patient, the patient was not there for the hospital. Patient safety was hugely important to Enid and if a staff member identified an area where we could improve she was totally supportive of that improvement. She was also an advocate of staff development and encouraged all staff to further their careers and be the best they could be.

One of the ways that Enid kept abreast of all things at LMPH was to do a daily round. This was usually done first thing in the morning and could take up to two hours. Not only would she visit all the patients to check their progress and spend time with those who did not have regular visitors, she would also talk to all the staff. She knew everyone’s name and a little of their personal lives. It was an opportunity for her to ensure that the hospital was being presented as she wanted it to be.

When Enid stepped down as Director of Nursing, she took on the role of marketing/community relations manager. This role allowed her to elevate one of her passions – good customer service. It also enabled her to continue to contribute in her own unique way to the culture of LMPH.

Enid resigned in May 2013 – she had worked at LMPH for 40 years. Following her retirement, Enid continued her work as the chair of the Hunter Breast Cancer Education and Support Network, organising forums for those with a breast cancer diagnosis. What an achievement.

On Australia Day, 2005, Enid was recognised for her contribution to private healthcare in the Hunter, receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia. We were so excited for her and it was justly deserved.

We have been extremely fortunate to have had Enid in our lives. She interviewed and employed each of us and we learnt valuable professional and life skills from her that we will carry with us forever.

Enid is survived by her partner John, daughter Sandra, son Martin, granddaughters Isobel and Ruby, son in law Garey, sister Fay, brother Lloyd, their families, her colleagues, her many friends and us.

We miss her and will never forget such a special person.

Vale Enid.

Amanda, Brett and Therese

Rural living with enviable connections

Suburb Snapshot Rural living: Black Hill features homes of commanding presence, with residents enjoying a life of tranquility and space.
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Black Hillis a ruralsuburbofNewcastle. Located 26 kilometres from Newcastle’scentral business district, with easy access to the New England Highway, connections toeitherthe city or the HunterValley are inside a 40 minute drive.

Black Hill is part of theCity of NewcastleandCity of Cessnocklocal government areas and has a population of approximately 656, according to the Census 2011.

With the lure of the soon to be completed Stockland Greenhills shopping centre just a 15 minute drive and Maitland and East Maitland within easy reach, families can enjoy the best of both worlds.

LifestyleBlack Hill offers the best of rural living, boasting premium properties of grand proportions, set on tranquil acreage.

This is the best it can get when it comes to offering scale and privacy with out losing the connection to everyday amenities such as schools, shopping and access to the city.

This is an animal loveror hobby farm enthusiasts dream, with many properties large enough to cater for paddocks, sheds, orchards and more.With endless views and this really is quite a special place.

From the expertThe prestigious Black Hill area has become a sought after andrespected semi rural suburb. There are manyexecutive small acre farms and renowned equestrian facilitiesin thispeaceful and secluded location thatoffersthe advantage of beingclose to the city, schools and facilities as well as easy access to the M1.

Over the years the area was well known as a fruit growing area with many generations of these original farmers remaining in the area on larger landholdings upholding the uniqueness of this tranquil haven.

Rhonda Nyquist, PRD Hunter Valley.

Vistas: 360 degree views are a characteristic of this green suburb.

Artist’s Impression: The proposed Stockland Greenhills expansion is within easy reach for Black Hill residents.

Study reveals the health cost of the Mr Fluffy crisis

Men who have lived in a house contaminated with Mr Fluffy asbestos have two and a half times the risk of mesothelioma as those who don’t, an Australian National University health study has found.
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The study found no extra cases of mesothelioma among women.

Mesothelioma is cancer of the lining of the lungs or abdominal cavity. Studies have shown a link between asbestos and other cancers, including lung, ovarian, laryngeal, pharyngeal, stomach and colorectal.

The mass demolition of asbestos houses in Canberra. Photo: Jay Cronan

The study also found higher rates of colorectal cancer rates in men and women who have lived in a Mr Fluffy house between 1983 and 2013 -32 per cent higher than the wider population for men and 73 per cent higher for women. But the study authors say it is unclear whether the rates of colorectal cancer are connected with the Fluffy exposure.

Prostate cancer rates were also 28 per cent higher among men who had lived in Mr Fluffy houses – but again, the result was unexpected and the authors said it is uncertain whether or not itrelates to asbestos exposure.

The ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health has been studying the incidence of mesothelioma and other cancers among people who have lived in a house that contained the loose-fill asbestos used as insulation. The material was pumped into the ceilings of at least 1023 homes by a contractor known colloquially as Mr Fluffy during the 1970s.

It was removed during a commonwealth clean-up at the end of the 1990s but the ACT government is now demolishing all of the homes after it was discovered in 2013 that the clean-up had failed to remove fibres from wall cavities, sub-floors and other parts of the homes.

The study linked Medicare data, death registrations and the Australian Cancer Database to compare numbers of mesothelioma cases in people who have lived in a Mr Fluffy house with the wider population.

The final health report on asbestos exposure shows men who have lived in a Fluffy home in Canberra are two and a half times more likely to get mesothelioma. Photo: Rohan Thomson

It covered November 1983 to December 2013, with about 17,000 people having lived in a Mr Fluffy house in Canberra, or 1.7 per cent of the population.

In total, 285 ACT residents or former residents had been diagnosed with mesothelioma over the time – ofwhich seven had lived in a Mr Fluffy house.

It found four more cases of mesothelioma than expected among men who had lived in a Mr Fluffy house. There were no cases of mesothelioma among women who had lived in a Mr Fluffy house.

Chief investigator Associate Professor Martyn Kirk said the higher rates of mesothelioma among men could be due to men doing more of the repairs or renovations.

“It may be that men were more often entering the roof space of their house, where there was loose-fill asbestos, or making renovations to their house,” he said.

The higher rates of colorectal and prostate cancer might not be due to asbestos exposure.

“These results were somewhat unexpected and may be due to unavoidable limitations in the design of the study, rather than exposure to loose-fill asbestos insulation,” he said.

The study said the association between living in a Mr Fluffy house and mesothelioma was much weaker than through work exposure to asbestos.

Art of reconstruction

In the frame: Plastic surgeon Dr Gary Avery at his surgery in Newcastle, which will host an art exhibition in August. Picture: Jonathan Carroll. A swag of talented Hunter artists have found an unlikely new champion in local plastic surgeon Dr Gary Avery.
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The Sydney-raised father of three, an experiencedplastic surgeon who has worked in the region for the past five years in the public and private health system, has set up a solo practice in the Union Steam Ship building inWatt Street.

When Dr Avery and his clinical psychologistwife Samantha refurbished the historic buildings interiors, they decided to selecta handful of local artists to exhibit their works free of charge.

At its first exhibition on August 24, Avery Plastic Surgery will have hung artworks ranging in price from $200 to $2500 and collectively valued at up to $30,000.

Artists now in residence are contemporary astract painter Donna Buck, multi-disciplinary artist Gavin Vitullo, printmaker Alison Pateman, landscape artist Shelagh Lummis, multidisciplinary artist Sandy Lee and artist and abstract artist and GP Gordon Snow.

“It fits with us and what we want the practice to be, it’s about community,” says Dr Avery, whose professional memberships include the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, of the art focus.

Dr Avery obtained a pharmacy degree and was studying medicine when he was working at Concord Hospital in the burns unit.

“I found it quite confronting and thought if it was bad for me on the ‘good’ end of things then it must have been bad for the patients,” he says of that time, which informed his decision to undertake specialist plastic training after completing his medical degree.

Dr Avery performs skin cancer removal surgery, reconstructive procedures such as breast reconstruction and hand surgery, alongside a host of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures.

He and staff aim to create a warm, comfortable and safe environment for clients who often feel vulnerable upon stepping into a surgery.

“It’s one of the reasons I don’t have desk, I consult at a round table and we make decisions together, because it’s not my decision, it’s ours,” Dr Avery says.

Making a new name for herself

MASK OFF: Newcastle’s Demi Mitchell feels her new indie rock direction better represents the artist she has become. Picture: Lazy Bones THERE’S been a wealth of changes happening lately in the career of Maitland-raised songstress Demi Mitchell.
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For starters Mitchell hasstepped outfrom behind her well-established moniker De’May to perform under her real name.

Stylistically, the changes are even greater. She’s swapped her acoustic guitar for amplification, her flowing bohemian dresses for a leather jacket, her alt-country Americana sound for indie rock.

It’s all about getting closer to the woman and the artist Mitchell is right now.

“I put the last recordout in 2014 and I just feel my style has changed a bit since then,” Mitchell says.

“We were doing the more alt-country Americana folk thing then and I feel like it’s gotten a bit rockier and more of aPJ Harvey vibe.

“I wanted to move away from the alt-country scene.

“Before I didn’t use my name because I wasn’t totally sure on what I wanted my sound to be and now I feel comfortablewith it.It felt normal to use my name.”

Beach Street 6 on Saturday at the Lass O’Gowrie will be Mitchell’s first public performance using her own name and her new backing band of Brennan Fell (bass), Jason Lowe (slide guitar) andAlex Quayle (drums).

Mitchell admits ditching De’May is like removing a mask.

De’May has established a strong following in the alt-country scene and she has supported the likes of Ella Hooper, Dustin Tebbutt, Bob Evans and Nadia Reid.

De’May – Dancing In The Sand“It was a difficult decision,” she says.“I asked a lot of friends about it and they’ve said,‘you’ve been using that name for a while, so why would you change it?’

“I guess I’m a little compulsive about that and I wanted to change it and I’m hoping it works out. It’s all bit of a gamble.”

Demi MitchellIf We Don’t Leave Now in 2014 throughindie label Laughing Outlaw.

The mix of alt-country, folk and bluesand worldly lyrics about unsuccessfullyrunning from broken loveoverseas [Chelsea Bridge]belied her 22 years.

The long-awaited follow-up was recorded in Melbourne in April and is currently being mixed and mastered for a springtime release.

Mitchell says listeners can expect more grunt and less darkness as she steps out front of herown rock’n’roll band.

“Solo can take on the more folkie vibe and I always get self-conscious that it gets a little too dark,” she says.“I feel like playing with a band lifts it up and gives it more attitude, rather than coming off as sad.”

The band life is not completely foreign to Mitchell. She’s enjoyed the accompaniment of her partner James Thomson’s band The Strange Pilgrims at various shows.

LEATHER BOUND: Demi Mitchell performing as De’May last year at Elsewhere: The Rooftop. Picture: Perry Duffin

She has also performed with Thomson as a duet,including a moody display at last year’s Elsewhere: The Rooftop at the Watt Street multi-storey car park in Newcastle.

Yet havingher own dedicated bandmates is a new experience.

On Monday Mitchell’snew four-piece kicked off rehearsals for Saturday’s unveiling.

“It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years and I just had to bite the bullet and do it,” Mitchell says.

Mitchell hasn’t completely shaken off her alt-country past. Next week she will perform alongside the Newcastle-raised Sydney-based Golden Guitar nomineeKatie Brianna and Melbourne’s Jemma Nicole, described as Australia’s new queen of dark country.

The showcase known as theFemme Fatale special will be Newcastle’s first edition of Sydney’s popular Ramblin’ Nights series, which regularly presents alt-country and blues acts.It’ll serve as an unofficialfarewell to De’May.

“I’ve played with Katie and Jemma a few times before and they’re both really good friends of mine I’ve met through that scene,” Mitchell says.

“We actually booked those gigs when I was still using De’May and hadn’t decided to change it, so it’s kind of the last few ones of that vibe.”

Demi Mitchell performs withKatie Brianna and Jemma Nicole atRamblin’ Nights–Femme Fataleat the Cambridge Hotel on Thursday, June 29.