Life in the Emergency Lane


This talk was brought to you as part of the biannual When I Grew Up series hosted by the Australian National University Medical Student Society. Our guest speaker is Professor Caldicott, who is an Emergency Department Consultant at the Calvary Hospital ACT. It is one of the most heartfelt and genuine talks that we believe all medical students and junior doctors should hear. There are so many pearls of wisdom about living and surviving as a doctor that we can all learn from. This is a raw, honest and entertaining reflection from a senior clinician practicing in one of the most challenging and exciting fields in medicine.

Our Guest Speakers Bio

Professor David Caldicott who is an Emergency Consultant at the Calvary Hospital and a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the ANU. He is a spokesperson for the Australian Science Media Centre on issues of illicit drug use and the medical response to terrorism and disasters.

Professor Caldicott designed and piloted the Welsh Emergency Department Investigation of Novel Substances (WEDINOS) project in the UK, a unique program using regional emergency departments as sentinel monitoring hubs for the emergence and spread of novel illicit products. He is currently replicating this work in Australia with the ACT Investigation of Novel Substances (ACTINOS) Group.

A Discussion about Effective Altruism

Courtesy of EnSIGN

Courtesy of EnSIGN

Effective Altruism Speakers

Recently we had the privilege to record a talk hosted by the ANU Medical School Global Health Committee EnSIGN. The talk was on effective altruism, a highly interesting and revealing topic, particularly for the medical profession which aims to improve health and well-being of every member of society. How can we better utilize the massive funding and donations to achieve the noble goal of alleviating suffering around the globe?

The talks begins by exploring the experiences and perspectives of the esteemed panel members who discussed their diverse and fascinating stories which enthralled the audience, comprised of both medical and non-medical members. Discussions ranged from volunteering effectively and the positive and negative aspects of volunteering to better utilisation of donations and delivery of services to local communities.

Some questions raised in this talk for you think about:

  • What’s more valuable your money or your time?
  • NGOs: the more the merrier?
  • Where is all your money going?

We would like to thank EnSIGN for organizing such a fascinating and insightful event that will undoubtedly provoke deep and meaningful conversations well and truly after this event. is the website of an organisation that  was mentioned numerous times throughout the talk. GiveWell assesses effectiveness of charity organisations, rating them on the potential to scale up and the impact that they create.

However, it must be noted that there are several reasons for a charity scheme to fail, such as bad weather or unseen circumstances. As such, is it beneficial to rate these charities on the same basis as everyone else? Through a hands on, grassroots level, some organisations have earned valuable lessons that cannot be assessed, demonstrating the complexity of this issue.

We hope you enjoy the podcast.

Professor Stephen Leeder


Image Courtesy of

Prof. Leeder’s address to ANU medical students

Interview with Prof. Leeder

There’s this parable about an accountant to an affluent family that had recently lost their stereotypically shrewd businessman father. Because the rest of the family didn’t know anything about the business or finances, the generous soul volunteered to help manage their inherited wealth for them. Of course, he remained the biggest benefactor to the wealth, sparing just enough for the family to get by and not burden themselves into investigating why their lifestyle took a bigger blow than the father did from the oncoming train.

Earlier this year, Prof. Stephen Leeder was let go from the Medical Journal of Australia; for raising objections about the decision to outsource production of the magazine to the academic publishing company, Elsevier. In summary, the company has been implicated in practices that threaten academic integrity. Fears are that the Dutch company will threaten the autonomy in the quality of papers submitted; a result of the increased role that the company will have over the production of the journal.

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Hey Doctors! Talk to a Vet, you never know what you’ll learn!

“Learning about the significant overlap between the disorders of animals and humans, how was it that I had never thought to ask a veterinarian, for insights into one of my human patients?”

I watched this UCLA Cardiology professor share what she learnt from our veterinarian colleagues. I have to say, I whole heartedly agree.

I’ve got a best friend from high school that is working as a vet, and it’s just fascinating to learn about the similarities and differences between human medicine and vet medicine. Here’s a snippet of what I’ve learnt from him over the years.

Did you know:

  • Cat’s normal heart rate is between 140 to 220 bpm?
    It will take super human listening skills to hear pan-systolic murmurs and regurgitations!
  • Dogs cannot metabolise certain compounds in chocolate, making it toxic for them to eat.
  • Paracetamol is deadly to cats.

True story! Seriously, go talk to a vet. You never know what you’ll learn.

Doctors and Asylum Seekers in Australia – the dilemma we face

As a doctor, do you treat someone who’s broken the law?

Our school hosted a night to discuss the challenging and emotive topic of asylum seeker and refugee policy in Australia. We had the Companion House (refugee and asylum seeker healthcare service) medical director Dr Christine Phillips provide an outline of not just health issues but the broader societal and political issues affecting these patients.

For those who are unaware of the situation, the Australian Governmental takes a harsh stance on asylum seekers that illegally arrive in Australia. The stance is exacerbated by negative media portrayals and dehumanisation of these desperate individuals who arrive at our shores by boat.

It is without a doubt these people require our attention and care. In this talk we are provided a unique perspective from a highly regarded physician working within this domain.

Let’s hear what Dr Phillips had to say.