Patient welcomes first year students to Medicine at Monash

Twanny Farrugia is blind, has had open heart surgery, multiple hip and knee ­replacements and manages several chronic health conditions, but this hasn’t stopped him from living life to the fullest. He is a volunteer with DonateLife Victoria and has served on the panel of a number of community organisations. Twanny also speaks to community groups at least twice each week, sharing his story and educating the public about the importance of organ donation.

Twanny Farrugia is blind, has had open heart surgery, multiple hip and knee ­replacements and manages several chronic health conditions, but this hasn’t stopped him from living life to the fullest. He is a volunteer with DonateLife Victoria and has served on the panel of a number of community organisations. Twanny also speaks to community groups at least twice each week, sharing his story and educating the public about the importance of organ donation.

Together with his guide dog Val he welcomed over 300 commencing Monash medical students to their course on Thursday morning. “Do you want to become a doctor or a healer?”, Twanny asked the group. He then added: “This is something you can decide here and now. Of course you have to understand the books but it is also really important to work from the heart.”

With a great sense of humour and several examples of his own experience in the medical system, Twanny placed patient centred care at the forefront of his talk, providing the students with four key tips:

  • Treat all your patients with dignity and respect.
  • Share information and provide patients with the opportunity to take part in the decision making about their care.
  • Talk to your patients! This won’t do you any harm and you will be able to gain a lot of information from these conversations.
  • Trying to achieve the best outcomes for your patients is a team effort. Build partnerships with your patients, their family and friends.

“The best doctors are the ones who are willing to admit that they don’t know something and will look for further information. This behaviour will really make your patients trust you”, he revealed.

Getting the opportunity to hear from Twanny was only the start of a fully packed two-day introduction to medicine program which included multiple student talks, an introduction to health enhancement by Dr Craig Hassed, a lecture by Emeritus Professor John Murtagh and much more.