Elizabeth Turner Medal
The Elizabeth Turner Medal is named to honour the memory of Dr Elizabeth K Turner MBBS, MD, FRACP, LLD (Hons), who worked as a paediatrician at RCH from 1942 to c.1980.
The purpose of the medal is to acknowledge excellence in clinical care provided by a member of the senior medical/dental staff of the RCH over an extended period of time. This medal is our highest form of peer recognition for exceptional clinical care.
2020 Elizabeth Turner Medal – Prof Dinah Reddihough AO
Dinah has always worked as a public hospital physician and her clinical care and commitment to children with significant disabilities and their families is outstanding for so many reasons:
- Dinah single handily was on call for inpatient care for our team from the early 1980’s until late 1990’s. She saw inpatient provision of care by the staff in our department as vital for children with complex disabilities. She advocated for a Fellow to be appointed to our team over many years.
- Dinah saw the challenges faced by children and saw that nursing staff on the wards had little familiarity with complex physical disability. She lobbied and successfully employed a highly skilled clinical nurse to support ward staff to manage these patients effectively and with compassion.
- Over the last 40 years, Dinah has conducted regular outreach clinics to country Victoria and outer Melbourne for children so they can be seen closer to home. She was a pioneer of outreach medicine long before Telehealth was even considered a possible way to see families remotely.
- Dinah still seeks answers for the day to day problems faced by children and families so their participation and quality of life is enhanced. She has changed the way children with cerebral palsy are treated with regard to nutrition, saliva control and hip surveillance. She led the way in the management of severe spasticity and dystonia with treatments such as baclofen pumps and various medication. Her research into drooling and saliva control led to the multidisciplinary approach we now use which includes salivary gland surgery, medication, dental care and physical therapies.
- As a clinician, she inspired a number of her junior staff to follow in her footsteps and was a role model for how to cooperate with colleagues and staff and parent support groups to improve patient services. Dinah has always been collaborative and she has actively fostered cross disciplinary care and research to improve patient outcomes. She always gave time to the wonderful auxiliaries who supported the department.
- Her drive to raise the profile of children with neurodisability has been persistent, thoughtful and successful. In 2004, she pulled people together from all walks of life into a consortium called SOLVE!At RCH. This group has helped to provide funding for two new chairs in developmental medicine to support the research and clinical care of children with disabilities and thus raise the profile of these vulnerable children.
- Another major achievement is her persistent and relentless advocacy for the provision of adult services for people with complex disability. The survival of many children with disabilities into adulthood was unheard of 30 years ago and the need for adult services was a long fought battle. Dinah was instrumental in the establishment of at least 3 adult clinics for people with disabilities in Victoria in the early 2000’s.
- Dinah’s drive and passion are a great example for her colleagues who are inspired by her work. Families and children have great faith in her clinical care and her knowledge. We are grateful for everything Dinah has brought to the care of children and their families with neurodisability. Congratulations Dinah – we are so thrilled for you for this well-deserved recognition.