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ACEM Service Award recognises Middlemore Hospital physician

Tuesday 12 November 2019
For immediate release

ACEM Service Award recognises Middlemore Hospital emergency physician

Middlemore Hospital emergency physician Dr Bhavani Peddinti has been awarded an ACEM Service Award for significant services to the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, a contribution that spans decades.

A Fellow of the College (FACEM), Dr Bhavani Peddinti has worked in Emergency Medicine in New Zealand since 1996 when he completed Emergency Medicine training at Auckland City Hospital.

New Zealand Faculty Chair Dr Andre Cromhout says Dr Peddinti is the first New Zealander to receive the Award. “We’re very proud of Bhavani and all that he does for the College. It’s significant for the Faculty because Bhavani is the first New Zealander to receive this recognition so it’s a big deal,“ says Dr Cromhout.

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) Service Award citation notes it greatly appreciates his services in education and training and significant contributions in many roles. This includes the Advanced Complex Medical Emergencies (ACME) Monitoring Committee, Continuing Professional Development Committee as Chair and member, Director of Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medicine Training and former Chair of the New Zealand Faculty.

Dr Peddinti says he is deeply honoured and humbled by the recognition from the College.  “I thank my peers,” he says. “I have been practising Emergency Medicine for the last 30 years in various roles as a Clinical Director, as a Councillor for the College, as an Examiner, and most importantly as an Emergency Physician working for the community.”

“It’s been my privilege and honour to work for the College, interact with very talented fellows and being part of a larger community of Emergency Physicians and Nurses,” he says.

Among his service experiences, he recalls how he helped launch the Advanced Complex Medical Emergencies (ACME) course for Emergency Physicians, assisted in revising the training curriculum for the College. He was also one of the key medical personnel involved in the redesign of Middlemore Hospital’s Emergency Department.

Practising emergency medicine wasn’t part of Dr Peddinti’s original plan after medical school. He was intent on becoming a surgeon, following the path of his friends and role models in India where he gained his primary medical qualifications.

“But that changed when I came and worked in the Emergency Department. The variety, the buzz, the fact that you can almost make an immediate impact on people’s lives. That was in 1985/86.

Dr Peddinti, newly arrived in New Zealand from India, worked in emergency medicine for the first time at Palmerston North Hospital working as a senior house officer in 1986.

A junior doctor, thrown on the frontline with little supervision, he says. “During that time, we rotated primarily through surgery, urology and emergency department. After I completed my first very nerve racking stint, my supervisor called me and asked me to do another. Three months later, as no one else wanted to do it, I agreed. They must have wondered what an unsuspecting doctor I was for punishment. The thing I liked the most was the variety, the buzz and the great team of doctors and nurses.”

A three-year hospital stint in Taranaki followed, before moving to Auckland City Hospital to begin Emergency Medicine training from 1989 to 1996.  By the end of his training, he was working at Middlemore Hospital’s Emergency Department. The one fellow, at that time, had just left. Dr Peddinti sat and passed the College’s fellowship exams in 1996, along with one other colleague. Their exam success secured the future of Emergency Medicine training at Middlemore Hospital.

Where does he get his drive to do this and help others?  “Both my parents were teachers, my father was a Professor of Political Science and my mother was a Lecturer in Chemistry”, says Dr Peddinti.

“My house was filled with books and my parents provided free tuition to hundreds of students. I always marvelled at my parents whose philosophy was: education first, but also helping others. They wanted their students to have a better life through education. That’s the example that my parents set for me. Then my older sister is a doctor and she’s a role model for me.”

“I actually feel quite privileged to be in a position where you can help people…and what struck me in ED is that you can almost make an immediate impact on people’s lives, the emotional reward of such a service is enormous.”

Dr Peddinti received the ACEM Service Award last month in Taupo at New Zealand Faculty Meeting.


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