Queenstown doctor to change Physician's Oath

By Tracey Roxburgh

Dr Sam Hazledine. Photo / Supplied
Dr Sam Hazledine. Photo / Supplied

A Queenstown-based doctor is on his way to change the Physician's Oath after successfully lobbying the World Medical Association.

In a Mountain Scene opinion column Dr Sam Hazledine, founder of MedRecruit, said four years ago he decided ''something needed to change in the medical system'', but, at that point he wasn't sure what that was.

A year later he began researching the impact of stress on doctors and found 87 per cent were "over-stressed".

"Stress leads to depersonalisation and emotional disconnection from the patient and depersonalisation leads to increases in major medical errors.

"Despite 'first do no harm' underlining what we do, the way we are being as doctors is causing us to harm our patients.''

Dr Hazledine said it wasn't until last year when he was speaking about well-being to graduating medical students around New Zealand he realised the Declaration of Geneva - ''the modern-day Hippocratic oath'' - did not mention doctor health and well-being.

His research was "conclusive", he said.

Doctor well-being was critical to providing the best standard of care, so Dr Hazledine set about lobbying to have it included in the DoG.

That led to the WMA inviting him to present to its annual general assembly to a working group in Taiwan on October 18.

His presentation gained unanimous support and the following day the working group presented the change to the association's ethic's committee, which also supported it unanimously.

The proposed change would now go through public consultation before being presented to the association's general assembly in October next year for ratification.

Who is Dr Sam Hazledine
Dr Hazledine grew up living in various parts of the world, as his father worked for Shell.

His parents instilled in him a belief that anything was possible.

He studied medicine in Otago and candidly acknowledged that, at that time, he was drinking heavily and getting himself ''in a lot of trouble''.

His life changed radically on June 20, 2002, when he decided to do a backflip off a wall outside the Captain Cook Tavern.

He landed on his head and was in a coma for several days.

When he came out of the coma, he was told he might not regain his full brain function, or be able to return to medicine.

It was to prove to be the ''shake-up'' he needed and, with determination and focus, he got back on track, realising that he had to change.

He went on to graduate with his medical degree in 2003 and, that same year, he was also New Zealand extreme ski champion and overall freeski champion.

When Dr Hazledine started working as a doctor, he saw that 25 per cent of medical graduates left medicine within three years of graduating.

Deciding that medicine had not changed to cater for a younger generation of doctors, who wanted more flexibility and freedom, he set up MedRecruit in October 2006.

The business grew quickly and was named fastest growing services business and second-fastest growing business overall in the Deloitte Fast 50 awards in 2009.

It now employed more than 40 staff and had offices in both New Zealand and Australia.

- additional reporting: Sally Rae

- Otago Daily Times

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