A lifetime commitment to western Sydney: Blacktown Mount Druitt doctor farewelled after four decades

Blacktown Mt Druitt Hospital Visiting Medical Officer Dr Michael Datyner retires 30 June 2022

Caring, compassionate, authentic, dedicated, professional and a gentleman are just some of the words used by colleagues to describe beloved western Sydney Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) Dr Michael Datyner.

After a career that spans four decades, endocrinology and geriatric medicine practitioner Michael is retiring with his sights set on “holidays, catching-up on sleep, reading and spending more time with family and grandchildren”.

On 28 June, the Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital (BMDH) medical staff council (MSC) hosted a retirement function for Michael to thank him for this lifetime commitment and dedication to serving the communities of western Sydney.

Michael has contributed to helping many doctors at BMDH and I’m proud to have been under his guidance when I started out as resident, to senior registrar and then consultant,” said MSC Chair Dr Viraj Kariyawasam.

In early 1980, Michael began his career at Westmead Hospital and completed training as a consultant physician in general medicine, including a year in endocrinology. Following this, he worked as a clinical superintendent for medicine, worked part-time as a staff specialist and later as a VMO at Mount Druitt Hospital, where he was instrumental in establishing the diabetes service. He also started a private practice in Rooty Hill.

Michael has worked across two disciplines, endocrinology and geriatric medicine, reflecting his commitment, desire, and passion to help the vulnerable communities of western Sydney.

“The reason I gravitated toward endocrinology was the influence of and mentoring by Professor Cres Eastman AO, who was the Head of Endocrinology at Westmead Hospital while I was training,” said Michael.

After the Mount Druitt and Blacktown hospitals were linked in the 1990s, Michael’s role changed with general medicine no longer supported, so he joined the geriatric medicine team. Michael continued his work in endocrinology through his private practice with a mix of face-to-face and telehealth consulting and inpatient care.                           

“I recall the terrific place Mount Druitt Hospital was in the early days when it functioned as a local general hospital, and I really enjoyed working there, but it was necessary for it to change to better meet the needs of the community” reminisced Michael.

“A career highlight of mine has been being involved in the stage one and two developments at Blacktown Hospital, as the new hospital surroundings allow us to provide better and more functional care to the local community whom we serve.

“There was a great sense of collegiality with the community having their involvement in the planning; it was an exciting time for everyone with the focus on what was best for the community.”

During this time, Michael also commenced in a succession of clinical leadership roles up until more recently, when he was the BMDH divisional director for acute medicine from 2016 to 2021.

Michael has many memories from over the years with patients and their families and will miss hearing their life stories.

“Working at BMDH has been a wonderful privilege over the years, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to care for our community and do feel bad in some ways for moving on; but it’s not often that patients see the same doctor for nearly 40 years,” exclaimed Michael.

One of the hardest parts of retiring is leaving the people you work with as they become an important part of your life, and whilst they are not family, they play a part in how you navigate through your working life.

“I’ve admired many colleagues and have been delighted to see the progression of medical students and junior doctors in their careers; becoming outstanding clinicians, ready to care for the community and address patient’s needs.”

BMDH director of medical services, Dr Alison Loughran-Fowlds, commended Michael for making a lasting impression on so many of the junior and senior doctors by sharing his knowledge, expertise, support, and being a role model and mentor.

“Four decades of working for western Sydney communities is an outstanding achievement and something to be proud of,” Alison said.

“We appreciate and thank you for your support and the friendship you have shown to so many and wish you and your family a healthy, prosperous and happy retirement.”