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A change of Professors: Laparoscopic surgery to continue in Rarotonga

Monday 20 June 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Health, National


A change of Professors: Laparoscopic surgery to continue in Rarotonga
From left to right, Prof Adam Bartlett, Dr Deacon Teapa and Prof John Dunn. SUPPLIED/22061921

Fifteen years ago, Professor John Dunn introduced laparoscopic surgery and flexible endoscopy to Rarotonga Hospital with the help of anaesthetic and senior nursing colleagues Dr Ian Campbell and Sue Valentine.

Besides donating the original equipment, the trio have generously donated their time away from their practices at Endoscopy Auckland. They have completed hundreds of procedures including cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal), hernia repair, gastroscopy and colonoscopy.

Prof Dunn is now handing over the surgical procedures to Prof Adam Bartlett, who is a hugely experienced laparoscopic, hepatobiliary and transplant surgeon, working both at Auckland City Hospital and at Endoscopy Auckland. He is ably assisted by senior nurse Marie Fuller.

“I have worked with Adam and Marie for many years and am delighted they are continuing this important work. The Cook Islands are accessing some serious talent here,” says Prof Dunn, who will remain engaged in Rarotonga concentrating more on investigative gastroscopy and colonoscopy.

“For my part I wish to improve and refine endoscopy services locally, with a big emphasis on bowel cancer screening. This is in line with the vision of senior hospital doctors and Te Marae Ora.

“I would also like to acknowledge the skills and dedication of Dr Deacon Teapa, and before him Dr Teariki Noovao, whose wide-ranging abilities leave me in awe. Deacon is surrounded by fabulous hardworking theatre and ward teams whom I feel often don’t get enough credit.”

Dr Teapa responds: “I would like to thank Prof Dunn for providing world class service to the Cook Islands over 15 years. The people and the nation have benefitted by avoiding costly and disruptive travel to NZ for treatment. We would also like to give our meitaki ma’ata to Prof John, Dr Ian and nurse Sue for the immensely valuable teaching and mentoring over the years.

“I look forward to improving our endoscopy locally and I am sure the entire Endoscopy Auckland team will remain in touch.”

The group leave soon having completed over 20 successful procedures last week.

Prof Dunn said: “While the emphasis has been on what my team has given, it is important to recognise what we have received. This includes friendships, collegiality, experiences, knowledge and the huge opportunity that the practice of surgery provides. I give my meitaki ma’ata straight back.”