Dr Neil Tamlin remembers the exact moment he first considered a career as an obstetrician. It was Good Friday, 1985, and as a medical student Dr Tamlin had just delivered twins.
“I decided that could be a lovely way to spend my life,” he says.
That first inclination was confirmed in 1989 when Dr Tamlin started working at Queen Victoria Hospital and had the option of being rostered on to either the maternity ward or the casualty ward.
“I thought if I could be rostered on to labour ward I would be a very happy man, and 30 years later I’m still rostered on to labour ward, and I am still a happy man.
“I saw it as a privileged opportunity to be present at the moment of birth, which is a very sacred time in someone’s life… (and) sharing that special and intimate moment with people.”
It’s an aspect of the job that is as motivating for Dr Tamlin today as it was then. As an obstetrician who consults out of North Eastern, he gets to know his patients well over the course of their pregnancy.
“Most people don’t invite their parents to be present, or their sisters or best friend, but they ask me, which is a great privilege.
“If you don’t manage it (the birth experience) well it can have a dramatic impact on their lives… if people have bad experiences it can make them not want to have babies again.
“I try to make it as pleasurable an experience as it can be for the parents.”
Dr Tamlin sees technical ability and communication skills as key to being a good obstetrician.
“You have to be technically competent, you’ve got to know what you’re doing. You have to be able to manage the complications as efficiently as you can. You need the intelligence, experience and wisdom to know when you should sit on your hands or when you have to act.
“You also need to be a good communicator so you know where people are coming from and how you can best help them achieve the birth experience they want, depending on what happens during the birth.”
One of the additional things Dr Tamlin likes to do for his patients is organise for high quality photos to be taken at the birth. He often organises a professional photographer, and as someone with photography experience himself, Dr Tamlin tries to ensure that the lighting is good and all family members are in the right place. He even won a silver medal in the Australian Institute of Professional Photography awards for one of his photos.
There are, of course, incredibly challenging moments in obstetrics as well. Dr Tamlin says the hardest by far is still birth.
“Unfortunately you can’t have the good without the bad. But this is another opportunity to help people.
“I still try and organise photos if that’s what people want… and find out what their needs are, what their background is in terms of religious and cultural belief and how I can help them.
“It’s often said that birth is a very short distance a person has to travel, but the most dangerous journey of their lives.”
Dr Tamlin sees the midwifery and nursing staff as the biggest reason expectant parents should consider having their babies at North Eastern Community Hospital.
“For the first 10 years I practiced as a specialist there was zero staff turnover with midwives at North Eastern, which is very rare,” he said.
“I’ve worked at over 10 hospitals and I find that the nursing and midwifery staff at North Eastern are some of the most caring and supportive of any I’ve worked with… This is by far the best hospital and best nursing staff in the state.
“As a private hospital, you also get to see the same doctor, a consistent face, and you know you are getting high quality, consistent care… You also get to stay on site after the birth, rather than being out that day or the next day.”
To find out more about the services offered by Dr Tamlin contact his practice on 8366 8237 or at Karen.Maddison@drneil.com.au