The death of four ABC newsmen prompted journalist Louise Randall to embark on a new career in medicine.
When four much-loved ABC newsmen died unexpectedly within a fortnight in 2011, colleagues were left reeling.
“They were functional, but incredibly distressed,” says former news editor Louise Randall.
In the days and weeks after the deaths, her office became a haven of solace where staff sought unofficial counselling to cope with their grief.
It also marked a moment in time which would profoundly change the course of her life.
“For many of my ABC colleagues, the deaths (three in a helicopter crash at Lake Eyre) triggered underlying issues. These people were working at the highest level of journalism, but under enormous stress in their daily lives. It was satisfying to be their sounding board but it confirmed for me that mental illness is under recognised. I knew I wanted a future as a psychiatrist.”
Within months, she had taken a redundancy payout from the ABC and gained acceptance into medical school at the University of Sydney.
This week, at the age of 54, Dr Randall walked into Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as a medical intern with a Doctor of Medicine qualification and a determination to continue her career in public service.
She is one of 105 interns starting work this week across Sydney Local Health District, based at RPA, Concord, Canterbury, Balmain and two of our networked hospitals, Broken Hill and Dubbo.
They will rotate through terms in emergency medicine, surgery and other areas such as aged care, anaesthesia, general practice, palliative medicine, psychiatry and rehabilitation medicine.
Our multimedia team is following Louise through her first year so keep an eye on Facebook and our Media Centre for updates.