Several doctors speak powerfully about their lived experiences of the summer’s horror bushfires–both from a personal perspective and also professionally. For Drs Kim Loo, Michelle Hamrosi and Trudi Beck, the human toll of the climate crisis has pushed them to become active and join climate advocacy groups such as DEA.
The summer’s unprecedented fires, touched many doctors in NSW and Victoria.
Some doctors were personally affected, many cared for their communities under challenging circumstances in their surgeries and in evacuation centres, while others who offered to help at evacuation centres were turned away– blocked by disaster response and command structures that don’t include general practitioners.
Additionally doctors located many kilometres away dealt with patients suffering from the smoke haze that blanketed towns and cities across the east. For example, in western Sydney, NSW Co-Chair Dr Loo treated patients with respiratory failure and pulmonary disease.
Months later, some patients continue to feel the physical and mental health impacts.
The article touches on the issues faced by doctors and their patients, as well as the solutions.
This article was first published in The Medical Republic on 28 September 2020.