Baby doc delivers sad news

ONE of Maffra’s most respected and loved ‘baby doctors’, Dr Tony Wright, is regretfully saying farewell to the early mornings and late nights in the delivery room after a career spent welcoming about 2000 babies into the world.

It’s fair to say that after 43 years in the town, Dr Wright has delivered a large share of the local population, and is fixed in the hearts and minds of hundreds of mums and dads as the caring professional who shared their special journey.

Dr Wright’s own journey to obstetrics began in the United Kingdom in 1975, when, as a recently qualified doctor working in a small English coastal town, he saw an advertisement in the British Medical Journal for a doctor in a town he had never heard of, in a place he had never been.

Of course, it helped that he had already met and fallen in love with a beautiful young Australian nurse called Jennie, who later became his wife and mother of their three children.

Beginning his Aussie working life at Maffra Medical Group, where he stayed for about 20 years, Dr Wright opened the Johnson St Clinic in the 1990s to cater for the growing community, and has been there ever since.

The tall, softly-spoken doctor quickly became a favourite among expectant mothers, who were comforted by his genuinely caring bedside manner, and possibly the dulcet tones of his gentlemanly, ‘BBC’ English accent.

While most deliveries have been straightforward and uncomplicated, Dr Wright said a career spanning almost half a century hasn’t been without a few hiccups.

Babies have arrived in the back of ambulances, and there have been plenty of emergency situations that have tested his skills and his faith.

There have also been plenty of heart warming — and even funny — moments, such as the time a Jewish baby peed on him as he was being delivered by emergency caesarean section, and the delighted mum said it was a good sign.

“‘You must come to his bar mitzvah’, she told me, and I’m still waiting for the invitation,” he said.

But all of Dr Wright’s tiny patients have undoubtedly been special.

“Every baby delivery is special, because the look on a new mum’s face when she holds her baby for the first time is priceless,” he said.

“That is something that I will miss.”

Dr Wright’s daughter Georgina, who now lives in Melbourne, said she still has people introduce themselves to her when she’s in town as one of his “babies”.

“It’s really lovely that people feel so connected to him … this is huge for him to end this part of his practice as it is the favourite part of his job,” she said.

While he has recently scaled down his workload to fit in more sailing and travelling, the 71-year-old is still working three days a week as a general practitioner “or more when needed”.