As it gets closer to our inaugural Don’t Forget The Bubbles conference in Brisbane later this year we thought it about time we showcased some of the amazing and inspiring speakers we have lined up for you. Coming from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences we hope that they will help us all become better at looking after unwell children and better at looking after each other.
Today we are interviewing Andy Tagg, one of our the key creators of DFTB and an emergency physician. When he isn’t working in ED, retrieving patients or playing with his children, he spends his time writing thoughtful blog posts about Clowns and Clinical guidelines, championing our monthly Bubble Wrap and organising the conference!
1) How did you first become involved with Don’t Forget The Bubbles?
I was doing a PEM job whilst studying for my fellowship and was tweeting out the occasional paediatric pearl when I got a DM from Tessa asking I wanted to get involved in an exciting new project. I had been looking for some sort of creative outlet and rather than start my own blog, with all the hassles of having to create regular content on my own, I thought it better to team up
2) What does Don’t Forget the Bubbles mean to you?
It means an outlet for my enquiring mind and a chance to ask and answer the questions that I don’t know the answers to. It also means the chance to change a little bit of the hospital culture as I’m trying to with my series on the hidden curriculum.
I’m the supervisor for interns in my department and I want them to have the best careers possible, whilst enjoying their lives at work. Being involved in DFTB means being part of the wider FOAMed community and chatting to people from around the world who are as excited about life in medicine as I am
3) What is a “career defining” moment that you can recall?
I was working in a large trauma centre in Melbourne when the alarm rang from the waiting room. A backpacker had unexpectedly delivered a baby in the toilets. This was a hospital that does not do kids and I gave mouth to nose rescue breaths as I carried the newborn to resus. I had spent so much time reading about neonatal resus after the death of my first daughter that all I could think about was this keeping this little one alive. My heart was racing, my mouth was dry and I was in that tunnel vision state until I stopped, slowed my breathing right down and then the doctor in me took over. It made me realise that even if you don’t look after children you need to know how to look after them in times of need. It was my last shift, a night shift, at that trauma hospital and it will be talked about for a long time.
4) Who inspires you in your clinical practice and why?
I’m a strong believer in setting my own standards rather than comparing myself to other people. Often, via the Twitter-verse, we hear of outstanding diagnoses and amazing saves but I’m inspired by the humanity in medicine. I’m inspired by doctors and nurses that take their time to talk to patients like people rather than diseases. I’m inspired by residents sitting with dying old ladies and busy consultants making a patient a cup of tea without grumbling.
5) What is a little known fact about you?
I was once shortlisted for a job as an agony uncle on Radio 1 (A popular radio station in the UK)
6) What is your proudest achievement or most memorable encounter with a patient?
I have had so many memorable patient encounters, especially during my time working as a doctor on cruise ships that it is hard to narrow them down. But of course I’m most proud of my wife and lovely girls that have supported and encouraged me through all of my endeavours.