Ever since he was a teenager, Westmead Hospital’s clinical and forensic toxicologist Dr Naren Gunja was fascinated by poison and venom, having read many murder mysteries.
“Venom is such a small chemical that can cause a lot of harm,” Dr Gunja said.
“In some cases it can kill a person in under an hour.”
To save lives, Dr Gunja plays detective, identifies a problem and helps a patient who may be poisoned.
“Last month we saved a patient from a snake bite,” Dr Gunja said.
“He could have died without anti-venom and life support.”
Dr Gunja said poisoning can come from chemicals, drugs, plans, mushrooms and envenomation from spiders, snakes and other animals.
“After I leave my shift in the emergency department, I reflect on how my shift went and the decisions I’ve made,” Dr Gunja said.
“My advice to budding clinicians is to follow your passion and do what you love. I’m glad I followed my interests as a teenager.”