From North Qld Cowboys player to surgeon

Monday, 03 April, 2023

From North Qld Cowboys player to surgeon

A former North Queensland Cowboys player turned Mater Private Hospital Townsville upper gastrointestinal, bariatric and general surgeon, Dr Scott Whiting is the only surgeon in North Queensland with recognised fellowships in both bariatrics (ANZMOSS) and minimally invasive upper GI surgery (ANZGOSA), which includes totally minimally invasive oesophageal and gastric resections.

Born and raised in Townsville, Whiting is one of 10 surgeons trained in how to use North Queensland’s latest robotic technology, the Da Vinci XI. The $3.3 million surgical robot helps surgeons like Dr Whiting complete cutting-edge procedures that are less invasive and enable patients to make faster recoveries.

06:30 I normally wake up anywhere between 6 and 6.30 am each day. I will typically exercise one to two times a week of a morning before work or for 30 mins at home.  On my weekends I will go to the gym or take the kids for a walk up Castle Hill, or go for a bike ride around the river.

06:45–07:00 I will have a coffee and a protein smoothie.

07:15 I leave for the hospital, and it takes approximately 10–15 minutes to either the Mater Private Hospital Townsville or the Townsville University Hospital.

08:00 I always review my cases for the following week usually on Sunday evening and again the evening prior whether that be for theatre, endoscopy or in clinic. My surgical list usually starts about 8 am.

I always review the case prior and plan my surgical approach. There are some wonderful videos and resources shared by other surgeons to help refine technique and improve efficiency which I refer to often. We always complete WHO (World Health Organisation) safety checks.

My average list would include four to six bariatric procedures including revisional cases, which can be challenging. I also complete complex hiatal hernia surgery and general surgery including gall bladder and hernia surgery. I usually complete minimally invasive esophagectomy/gastrectomy surgeries on a weekend or all-day list.

10:00 Surgery time can vary on complexity. Procedures such as cholecystectomies, inguinal hernia repairs and sleeve gastrectomies are completed well under 60 minutes. Totally minimal invasive oesophagectomies can take all day.

Dr Scott Whiting successfully performed the first minimally invasive Ivor Lewis Esophagectomy surgery on former Cairns Mayor Kevin Byrne. Image: Supplied.

12:00 Time for a quick bite for lunch (depending on what case I am working on) and then it’s back to theatre.

18:30 This is about the time I finish and then review my cases for that day on the ward before heading home; however, the weeks I am on-call may mean I am operating well into the night with emergency cases.

18:30–19:30 I typically leave the hospital for home.

19:45–20:00 I am home late most evenings and therefore I will come home, have dinner with my wife (unless it’s very late!) and have some downtime for a couple of hours before heading to bed.

22:00–23:00 This is often dinner and then bedtime!

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