The 1980s was a memorable decade with the first-ever CT scanning and diagnostic ultrasound performed, the introduction of personal computers, the discovery of new viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C, and the development of emergency medicine as a speciality.
It was also during this time that Deidre Fleming started her 39-year career as a midwife at Westmead Hospital.
“How times have changed from the 80s. Everything was manual then, including patient notes and medical records. Now everything is electronic,” Deidre said.
Starting out in the Birthing Unit, Deidre recalls the many memories she has from the near two decade-long service where she helped to enhance the lives of many women and families by bring new bundles of joy into the world.
It’s in Westmead’s Women’s and Newborn Health Clinic where Deidre has spent her recent years.
“My most memorable moments of working at Westmead Hospital were helping mums and working with those who had high-risk pregnancies,” Deidre said.
“I have lots of fond memories of all the staff who are my friends and the opportunity I had to do research with Women’s Health staff specialist, Dr Indika Alahakoon.
“I will really miss my friends and the patients. The staff have been like an extended family to me.
“I’ve really enjoyed working at Westmead Hospital and felt a sense of achievement in helping women and families and making a huge difference in their lives.”
After 39 years working in healthcare, Deidre has acquired much knowledge and wisdom.
“I leave behind a piece of advice to upcoming midwives – work in every area of maternity and gain as much experience as you can to help you choose an area you love the most,” she said.
Westmead Hospital’s Women’s and Newborn Health operations director Donna Garland, wished Deidre a wonderful retirement where she can begin a new chapter in her life with her family and friends.
“Deidre was the ‘Wikipedia’ of obstetrics and was often the go-to person for our team,” Donna said.
“Her friendly and caring nature made any new mum feel at ease and relaxed.
“She is the ‘master’ of the Antenatal Clinic with all her wisdom and knowledge and the ‘grandmaster’ of the Outreach Clinics which she helped establish.
“Deidre has left a wonderful mark and I wish her all the best for the future.”