August 7, 2008

City Doctor Helps in Mercy Mission

By TIFFANY, Martin

While the Waikato dries out from the recent torrential rain Hamilton man John Duncan is basking in the sun in Papua New Guinea.

The naval Surgeon Commander is on board the massive US hospital ship Mercy in charge of an eight-person team from the NZ Defence Force serving as part of a medical mission named Pacific Partnership.

Hamilton-born Surgeon Commander Duncan was educated at St John's College, and still lives in the city, commuting to Auckland for his job as director of naval medicine at the Devonport naval base.

He joined the navy 10 years ago and has worked on various operational missions including as medical officer for New Zealand troop deployment to Afghanistan, peacekeeping in the Solomon Islands, and with Kiwi troops in East Timor.

For his current mission, Surgeon Commander Duncan and his team of seven - made up of three nursing officers and one medic from the army, one environmental health officer, one medic from the air force and one medic from the navy - joined the ship on July 31 in Darwin for the East Timor leg and the Pacific Partnership in Papua New Guinea which ends on August 25.

"As a primary health care doctor I will be involved . . . where we go ashore and give medical clinics and aid to areas of Papua New Guinea that are in need.

"We will also be involved with surgical screening and identifying any patients that may benefit from surgery and referring them on to the Mercy surgical team - such as patients with cataracts, hernia and many other surgical conditions." - Martin Tiffany


(c) 2008 Waikato Times. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.