Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lance O'Sullivan - The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor
Dr Lance O’Sullivan
Penguin - RRP $38.00
Out now

Māori children die prematurely of accidents, asthma, child abuse, sudden infant death syndrome, violence and preventable communicable diseases. As young adults it’s suicides, car accidents and alcohol-related deaths and later on the killers are heart disease, heart attacks, cancers and diabetes.

It’s a sobering statistic that three out of four of the youngsters Dr Lance O’Sullivan sees in his Kaitaia clinic probably won’t live beyond the age of 65 but what gets our charismatic ‘New Zealander of the Year’ out of bed every morning and cycle the 15 kilometres to his clinic is also knowing that it is possible to make a massive difference in just one generation. His own personal journey is testament to this, as his exhilarating new memoir, The Good Doctor, reveals.

Even having a devoted, hard-working solo mother who did her best to equip her three children for life, Lance could still so easily have become another statistic. What was missing, and what he craved more than anything, was a positive male role model to guide him through his early years which he didn’t have in his alcoholic and absent father. 
After being expelled from two schools, he found his way at Hato Petera College, connecting with his Maori ancestry, and going on to study medicine. After a brief but outstanding career working as a GP in the public health system, Lance and his wife Tracy, a nurse, quit their day jobs to set up a ground-breaking practice in the Far North that offers free healthcare to the many who can't afford it.

The Good Doctor charts Lance’s inspirational, captivating life-story, and shines a light on many social issues affecting New Zealand today. It is simply a compelling and exhilarating read from a man who is breaking the rules to make a difference up North and, ultimately, relay an overarching hope for a better New Zealand.

A great read and a friend of mine who just read the book summed it up so well when she e-mailed me:

It's such a page-turner and everything he talks about makes such sense. I found it such an emotional rollercoaster: heartbreaking, exhilarating, bleak, constructive, optimistic.....

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