Rural hospital doctor and high achiever

22 October 2020

Category: Rural


Growing up in Tokoroa, Dr Caitlin Whitford knew that rural communities often don鈥檛 have the doctors they need and from day one at medical school, she aimed to fill that gap. Now she works as a busy rural hospital doctor in Turangi, returning to her farm each day to care for a menagerie of animals; a place where she can see Mount Ruapehu from her deck.聽

鈥淚鈥檝e always been fascinated by how the body functions and was quite keen on biomedical research for a while but ultimately I chose medicine for its ability to build lasting relationships with people,鈥 says Dr Whitford.聽聽

Her everyday work life is spontaneous and can be uncertain. As well as the regular things people see their doctor for, she鈥檚 still testing for COVID-19 each day alongside her colleagues at Pihanga Health. She can be found first on the scene of medical emergencies if the ambulance is out of town on another call and, as a highly trained specialist, can keep her cool when a patient turns up at the GP clinic with severe heart issues.

鈥淭he nearest hospital is 45 minutes away and hard for many of our patients to get to so most of the time, we鈥檙e it,鈥 she says.聽聽

Turangi is in great hands with Dr Whitford this year being named the first recipient of 麻豆视频入口鈥 Dr Amjad Hamid Medal, a prize that recognises the doctor who achieved top marks in the University of Otago鈥檚 paper Cardiorespiratory Medicine in Rural Hospitals.聽

The award was named for another rural hospital doctor, Dr Amjad Hamid, who was tragically killed in 2019鈥檚 Christchurch terror attack.聽聽