Dr Frankel is one of our favorite Doctors in Fourways and we wanted to get a little perspective on what it is like to live the life of a frontline Healthcare Professional!
When did your journey and inspiration to become a doctor begin?
To be very honest, I didn’t grow up with a burning desire to be a doctor. I come from a family of aviators. I took all business subjects at school, (which were my favourite) and had every intention of doing accounting or actuarial science. I had a teacher in matric who insisted I apply; she was convinced I was made for the profession.
Even after interviews and acceptance, I remained sceptical but decided to give it a try. If I didn’t accept the post then, there is very little chance I would be given another opportunity. For the first few years of basic sciences, I was still not persuaded. It was only once I began the clinical years that I began to love medicine. I got to be with patients and apply all the sciences. Up until that point it had been like memorising the telephone book in Latin.
What is the best part about your job as a doctor?
I think the expected answer is I love helping people, which is part of it. Being in emergency medicine, it adds a much bigger facet. I love the decisive urgency of what I do. Being in a frontline speciality, we get to see diverse conditions and people. Our job is to stabilise, diagnose and treat or refer. It is the best 15 mins of all the specialities. I love the gratification of making a significant difference to a person who is at their worst. I love the camaraderie between my colleagues, nurses and other departments. I love when a child requests to come see me or when a scared new mom goes home a little reassured.
What is the hardest part of being a doctor?
Up until 2020 the answer was simple. Losing a patient is never easy and a part of the job we do not take lightly but watching a proud elderly patient lose their dignity is for me one of the hardest things. I would now have to include the pandemic in this as I have had to compromise and sacrifice so much. I have 2 little boys I have taught not to run and hug me when I get home, until I have fully decontaminated. I find this abnormal and heart-breaking. Not seeing family and friends or them not wanting to see me as I am at such a high risk.
Breaking bad news is another aspect that will never fail to affect me. A tumour found, a miscarriage, a hopeless situation. It is impossible to divorce this from our own reality.
What made you open Fourways Urgent Care Medical facility to the community?
Urgent care is a concept from North America and is extremely successful there. It’s the idea that you cannot plan or book to be ill, but not every condition requires an emergency department and the red tape that accompanies it. As emergency doctors we have attempted to bridge the gap between a General practitioner and an Emergency Centre. The capabilities of an urgent care exceed that of a GP but do not have the capacity or resources of an emergency department.
It allows a patient with a laceration or broken arm to be seen immediately. The patient with gastroenteritis or an asthma attack to be treated quickly and the child with a raging fever not to have to wait for a doctor’s appointment or sit in the queue behind a patient with a more serious ailment.
Being doctors in the Fourways community for more than 15 years, Dr Brendan Blair and myself found an increasing number of patients presenting to the ED to see one of us. We found my opening a site remote from the hospital, it allowed us the facility for continuity of care and the ability to care for our patients in a non-emergent environment.
Whilst remaining medical aid rates, patients will generally be attended to in under half an hour. Any need for special investigations or referral can be initiated by the urgent care team. Unlike hospitals, a file is opened for you and your family on your first presentation and is kept thereafter so there is no paperwork every time you visit.
Hence our Slogan … LIFE IS URGENT!
The urgent care has a baby clinic operated by Sr Ann Richardson, physiotherapist, chiropractor; onsite laboratory and x- ray facilities.
What advice would you like to send out to the community as a healthcare professional?
Firstly, we often have patients arriving apologising for wasting our time or for coming for what may seem something trivial. Please know that is why we are here. More often than not, those are the ones who turn out to need us the most.
Secondly, this pandemic is far from over and the cases presenting to us are constant. Please don’t ignore the pleas for social distancing and masks. The devastation of the diagnosis to families is real!
Address: 7 Sunset Ln, Pine Slopes AH, Sandton, 2194
Phone: 010 900 2224
Facebook: Fourways Urgent Care
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