Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Devonport’s Megan Baker wasn't able to celebrate New Year at home with her parents Pam and Barry this year. The Navy Lieutenant and her 190 shipmates aboard HMAS Stuart were already heading for a six-month maritime security and counter-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden.
Lieutenant Megan Baker
Lieutenant Megan Baker
“I signed up for the Navy when I was still a medical student in Hobart,” said Megan. “My brother Luke and another doctor were already in the Navy, and their stories about speedboats, helicopters and international travel got me interested!
“Getting a scholarship also meant the Navy paid for the final four years of my medical studies — and since then the training hasn’t stopped.
“I’ve learned underwater medicine so I can work with Navy divers, aviation medicine — altitude sickness, ‘g’ forces and so on — so I can work with pilots, and submarine medicine so I can heal submariners. Not to mention helicopters so I can take part in aero-medical evacuations.
“I’ve also been on exercise in Hawaii and on a humanitarian deployment to Sumatra after last year’s earthquake.
“But for me the significant shift came in 2009 when I went to officer school at HMAS Creswell near Jervis Bay — I had definitely moved from doctor-land to Navy-land.
“I only got posted to Stuart in November — just in time for the big adventure. It’s a little daunting but I’m glad to be going and excited about the experience.
“On patrol my job will be primary health care for the crew, keeping them free from tropical diseases — and stomach upsets when they go ashore.

“For the last few weeks that has meant vaccinating everyone against everything!
“And if we run into trouble it will be my job to patch people up, keep them alive until we can get them to hospital.
“I’ve already got a presents shopping list from my brother and, yes, I’ve also got an idea what I’m bringing back for my parents — but I’m keeping that a secret. They will find out in six months!”
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