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Beyond the Stethoscope: 
Doctors' stories of reclaiming hope, heart and healing in medicine

Our health care system is sick.  We live in an era of factory style medicine, spiralling costs, complex and chronic conditions, and doctors at the heart of it under pressure as never before.  Witnessing worrying burnout in her doctor husband, Lucy Mayes went on a quest to find out what is really going on behind the scenes in medicine.  

Lucy asked doctors on the front lines how they make meaning in their work, what quality medicine looks like to them, and what their hopes are for the future of medicine.  What emerged were consistent messages about elements of practice that the culture and systems of medicine still struggle to understand and support: the power of humanism; compassion; listening; the therapeutic relationship; preventative care; the doctors’ own wellbeing journey; and mind-body plus other holistic understandings of health and healing.  

Beyond the Stethoscope will leave readers shocked, moved and inspired by the struggles, wisdom and insights of those who sit before them in that most ancient and intimate of humanist exchanges: that of the doctor and patient. 


"Great writers draw you into the story from the first page; Lucy Mayes is one of those. In a moving, heart-warming and inspiring tale, Lucy sets out to rescue her doctor husband Richard from impending burnout. Her method? Collecting stories from doctors who still love their work and who find ways to flourish in a broken system. The end result is a profound gift, not just for her husband, but for all who practice medicine. Lucy has the advantage of viewing medical practice from outside the profession, asking fresh questions and bringing deep humanity to her quest. Highly recommended, this book will save many doctors' careers and will be a great blessing for their patients too." 

Dr Robin Youngson, Anaesthetist, Author and Founder of Hearts in Healthcare

“It is hoped that many doctors and patients will read and be inspired by the wisdom and compassion of the doctors who have shared their insights in the pages of this book, Beyond the Stethoscope. Heaven knows we need it.”

Dr Craig Hassed, General Practitioner, Lecturer and Author

“Wisdom is timeless and the re-discovery of it is always timely.  This book is about the wisdom revealed by doctors on reflection of their experience.  These stories make a chorus of voices that encourage the progressive integration of self and other concern, that is only effective when there is deeper awareness of the human condition and all of its connections. The physical, psychological and emotional dimensions of the co-dependent doctor-patient relationship are revealed to a point that is, at its least, transparent and tangible, and at its best, transcendent. I unreservedly recommend this compelling account of individual journeys to better medicine through the lives of a broad range of doctors, so ably and sympathetically presented by Lucy Mayes.”

Mark R Newton, MD FRACP, Neurologist, Victoria

“There is one common thread that connects and ties these inspirational stories so generously shared by all - the Heart and Art of Medicine, and our compassion to heal and be healed

Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM, Holistic General Practitioner and health leader

“Doctors love their evidence based medicine, but when we are talking about really difficult topics, the power of narrative trumps all the statistical evidence you could ever accumulate.  These stories and the conversations they will enable are vital to the wellbeing and sustainability of our profession.”

Dr Katie Moore, Paediatric Oncologist, Monash Health.

“Lucy Mayes has travelled the world to bring us inspiring stories of doctors who have found ways to revolutionise healthcare by reuniting healing and spirituality.  Their acts of love, compassion and kindness fill me with hope.   They have found a way to put the "care" back in healthcare. This is the 'new medicine' that will change the world, one empowered patient and one conscious health care provider at a time!”

Sharlene Crage, Wellness Coach

“Artistic story teller Lucy Mayes has spent eight years listening with doctors: communing, story-catching, learning, celebrating, and mourning.  Beyond the Stethoscope reveals varied experiences in medicine.  Here are 'back stage' vulnerabilities of ordinary, extraordinary humans; oath-bound bearers and givers of state of the art medical knowledge, who choose to pour out life daily.  I am awed, as I was absorbed, reading this astonishing tapestry.  All you doctors who have shared life glimpses; the world’s doctors whose stories are hidden - we patients are deeply grateful.”

Carol McDonough, Victorian Honour Roll of Women, 2008

Contributor Profiles

Dr John Barton

John Barton is now semi-retired and only takes on work that excites him.   He is a registered psychotherapist (trained in psychodrama) and accredited Balint leader and trainer living in Auckland and working in Auckland and in Christchurch.   He retired as a General Practitioner about ten years ago after fifteen years as a country GP in New Zealand followed by ten years in inner city Melbourne. His psychotherapy work is mainly as a supervisor of doctors, psychotherapists and other health professionals. He currently leads four Balint groups including one over the internet and supervises several other Balint leaders.  He runs workshops teaching the use of small (toy) figures in counselling and psychotherapy; and occasionally teaches Professional and Clinical Skills to second year medical students.  He began learning bass guitar in 2011 and is currently rehearsing with two bands.

Dr Brian Broom

 Dr Brian Broom is Consultant Physician in Clinical Immunology (Auckland City Hospital), a registered psychotherapist, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychotherapy, and founder of the Post-Graduate MindBody Healthcare Diploma and Masters program at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.  He has been described as a 'philosopher physician', with a passion for 'whole person' approaches to health, un-wellness and disease.  His 'mindbody' approach has brought about healing change in many patients with chronic conditions.  He has written several books and delivered lectures around the world on his approach (see ‘Further Reading’).

Dr Joan Campbell

 Dr Joan Campbell is an integrative health professional and registered medical practitioner specialising in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  She works in her own well-established practice in Auckland, New Zealand.  Joan has worked in medicine and allied fields since 1966, including as a registered nurse, medical doctor, GP obstetrician, psychologist, Chinese acupuncturist, undergraduate teacher at the New Zealand College of Chinese Medicine (six years), and University teacher of post graduate Chinese medicine/acupuncture programmes for health professionals at the Auckland University of Technology (1995-2014). She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Auckland and the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. Dr Campbell is Founder (in 2000) and immediate past Chairman of the New Zealand Acupuncture Standards Authority Inc., a voluntary regulatory authority for acupuncturists recognised by the New Zealand government through the Accident Compensation legislation. Joan is working with the Chinese medicine profession on the national regulation of Chinese medicine under the Health Practitioners Competence Insurance Act 2003. After a long journey, the Minister of Health has agreed that Chinese medicine should be regulated and the process is now underway.

Joan is a wife to Graeme, mother to Janette and grandmother to Zachary and Leonardo. 

Dr Catherine Crock AM

Dr. Catherine Crock is a medical pioneer, producer of music and theatrics, humanitarian, mother and advocate for change.  A Physician at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Australia, Catherine has successfully implemented a raft of positive changes to healthcare in the areas of organisational culture, services and patient/family support.  She is the Chair and Founder of The Hush Foundation, a registered charity organisation working to transform healthcare by improving partnerships, culture and the environment to support health and wellbeing. Hush, in collaboration with some of Australia’s finest musical talent, has commissioned 15 albums of music specifically for application within healthcare.  Dr Crock also founded and was Executive Director of the Australian Institute for Patient and Family Centred Care, which has now merged with The Hush Foundation.

Dr Glenn Colquhoun

Dr Glenn Colquhoun is a General Practitioner and award-winning author and poet.  His published works include: The Art of Walking Upright (1999, Steele Roberts); An Explanation of Poetry to My Father (2001, Steele Roberts); Playing God (2002, Steel Roberts); How We Fell (2006, Steele Roberts); and North South (2009, Steele Roberts).  His poetry and writing explores that places he has lived, the people he has loved, his work as a doctor, and Irish and Maori mythology.  Glenn was convenor of the 2004 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and also in 2004, he received the country’s largest literary award, the Prize in Modern Letters.  In 2010 Glenn was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to research medical storytelling programs.  He practices medicine on the Kapiti Coast. He lives in Waikawa Beach, New Zealand with his young daughter Olive. 

Dr Mark Davis

Dr Mark Davis is a psychiatrist based in Lower Hutt, Wellington. He is married with four adult children, and one grandson.  Mark graduated from Otago Medical School in 1976 and completed his post graduate psychiatric training (in the UK and NZ) in 1986.  He worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist to Hutt Hospital (1986-1995), Victoria University Health Service (1986), Te Omanga Hospice, Lower Hutt (1998-2003) and has been in full-time private practice since 1995. His current work is predominantly third-party medico-legal assessments in the areas of chronic pain and post-injury (physical, sensitive claim) psychological disorder, plus health issues for Professional Registration bodies.  Mark is very interested in the area of professional education, health and well-being, and he wrote two chapters for the NZ D.H.A.S Book for Doctors and health professionals - “In Sickness and in Health” (1998, 2nd Edition.)  He had been on the NZ Medical Council Education Committee, and was part of a Health Advisory group to the New Zealand Veterinary Association.  Mark is a certified Balint group Leader and has run two Balint groups (for GPs, and one for therapists) over the past 14 years.  He is also a trained teacher of meditation and personal well-being, having undertaken such training over the past 25 years.  Mark has facilitated a number of “Health & Wellbeing” workshops and retreats for doctors, health practitioners and their partners.  His personal interests involve music (violin), reading, walking, golf (passionately), yoga and meditation, and time with family and friends. 

Dr Liz Harding

Dr Liz Harding is a locum general practitioner in Auckland, New Zealand.   She has lived with her partner Diane for the past 27 years.  They have twenty-year-old twins who are both finishing their last year of tertiary education.  Their daughter is a singer-song writer and their son is into computers.  Liz gets a lot of joy from being a member of two community choirs, does spin classes at the gym in the mornings, and attends Parkrun to keep fit. 

Dr Peter Howe

Dr Peter Howe finished medicine in 1987, and has been a specialist anaesthetist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia since 2000.  His other interests include playing the guitar (badly), surfing (very badly) and embarrassing his three teenage children in public.  He is readily bribed by the promise of coffee or signed Hawthorn Football Club memorabilia.

Dr Robin Kelly

Dr Robin Kelly is a General Practitioner and medical acupuncturist, author, speaker, and musician based in Auckland, New Zealand.  His medical practice has evolved to embrace Eastern and modern mind/body philosophies. His focus is on integrating these holistic models into a modern contemporary environment blending the best of the East with the best of the West, and where patients are seen as true partners.  Together they devise ‘Healing Plans’ honouring each person's unique gifts.  Robin is a sought-after conference speaker and workshop presenter.  Dr Kelly is past and current co-president of the Medical Acupuncture Society (NZ) and a founding trustee of New Zealand’s MindBody Trust.  He studied Acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the 1980s, running teaching workshops for health professionals and doctors. Since the 1990’s Dr Kelly’s overriding interest has been in researching the roles consciousness and quantum theory play in the deep healing process, which is the topic of his books (see Further Reading).

Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM

Dr Vicki Kotsirilos is a well-known medical educator, speaker and respected holistic GP at the Dunstan Dental & Medical Clinic in Melbourne. Dr Vicki integrates evidence-based natural therapies such as acupuncture, nutritional and herbal medicine with mainstream healthcare.  She keeps up to date with the research in these areas and is co-author of the successful textbook A guide to evidence-based integrative and complementary medicine.  Dr Vicki is a regular writer for Medical Observer and publishes a monthly column 'Integrative Perspectives' widely circulated to most GPs in Australia.  She holds three Adjunct Associate Professorial positions at the University of Western Sydney; Monash University and La Trobe University. Dr Vicki was awarded a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for 4 categories: 'significant service to Integrative Medicine, to Health Practitioner Standards & Regulations, to Medical Education, & to the Environment'. In 2017 Dr Vicki was again honoured to receive an Australia Day 'Environment Award.'

Dr Elizabeth Lewis

Dr Elizabeth Lewis is a psychiatrist based in Bendigo, Australia, specialising in bio-nutritional medicine.  She was an early activist for mental health rights and was one of the founding members of Mental Health Action, a successful human rights health advocacy collective.  Dr Lewis is on the Advisory Council for The Compeer program in Bendigo, a program which recruits and trains volunteers to provide regular companionship for people living with mental illness.  She is nearing retirement but continues to be passionate about emerging science supporting nutritional and other preventative health modalities.

Dr Richard Mayes

Dr Richard Mayes is a General Practitioner / Obstetrician in Castlemaine, Australia.  He is also a Medical Educator and the Clinical Hub Coordinator for Monash University Medical School for the Bendigo region, and is a national instructor for the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics and PROMPT training programs, for which he was awarded ‘Australian Trainer of the Year’ in 2016.  Richard also enjoys his role as ‘The Bird’ mascot for an annual local fun run which raises funds for the local hospital.  He is also a Castlemaine Parkrun race director, and dance instructor ‘in training’.  In his down time he enjoys running, kayaking, participating in extreme sports events, practicing Qi Gong, dancing and hanging out with his two children, wife, and dog.  

Dr Katie Moore

Dr Katie Moore is a paediatrician, trained in London and Melbourne and now specialising in paediatric oncology.  She has a Masters of Bioethics and is in the early stages of a Masters of Family Therapy.  Katie is also a mother of four and wife to a wonderful man who works as a paediatric anaesthetist.  As a professional, parent and patient she believes strongly in the vital importance of humanity and compassion in medicine.

Dr Veronica Moule

Dr Veronica Moule is a rural General Practitioner, Obstetrician, homeopath and practitioner of anthroposophical medicine based in Castlemaine, Australia. After graduating from Monash University, she did her residency and early years of General Practice in the Geelong region.  She and her family moved to Castlemaine when her oldest son was three. Her family has expanded to four children, and the babies whose births she first attended are now adults.  She enjoys the depth of intensity and integrity that rural GP Obstetrics offers.  Dr Moule’s permanent on-call status means she searches for sanctuary in her home, paddling on the lake, cooking outside with an open fire, and breathing in the wonders of nature.

Professor Vikram Patel

 Professor Patel is a psychiatrist whose work is on the burden of mental disorders, their association with poverty and social disadvantage, and the use of community resources for their prevention and treatment.  He is a co-founder of Sangath, an Indian Non-Government Organisation which won the MacArthur Foundation’s International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008, and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Public Health Champion of India award in 2016.  He is a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on several WHO expert and Government of India committees. He also works in the areas of child development and adolescent health. He was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015.  His academic appointments include: Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and the Wellcome Trust; Principal Research Fellow, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Professor, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Co-founder and Member of Managing Committee, Sangath, Goa, India; Adjunct Professor and Joint Director, Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries, Public Health Foundation of India; and Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK.  Professor Patel’s work has been widely recognised by a number of prestigious international awards, including: the Chalmers Medal (Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, UK), the Sarnat Medal (US National Academy of Medicine), an Honorary Doctorate from Georgetown University, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize (the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation), an Honorary OBE from the UK Government and the Posey Leadership Award (Austin College). He also works as a Professor at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Adjunct Professor and Joint Director of the Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries at the Public Health Foundation of India, Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (where he co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health in 2008).

Dr Sharad Paul

Dr Paul is a skin cancer surgeon, General Practitioner, and evolutionary biologist with a Masters in Medical Law and Ethics, and is currently completing a PhD in cutaneous / dermatological surgery.  In 2007, Dr Paul invented the first new skin graft technique that reduces costs, pain and healing time for patients, and he has presented this new technique at international conferences. He is also a lecturer, student, author (fiction and non-fiction) and social enterprise owner (bookshop and literacy charity).  Dr Paul is Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health, and Faculty of Creative Technologies at the Auckland University of Technology; Senior Lecturer, Skin Cancer, at the University of Queensland; and Hon. Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Surgery, at Auckland University.  He was awarded New Zealand Medical Association’s highest honour, The Chair’s Award in 2012 and the same year was a finalist for the New Zealander of the Year Award.  In 2015, he was awarded the Ko Awatea International Excellence Award for Leading Health Improvement on a Global Scale at the Asia Pacific Forum (APAC), the largest medical gathering in this region.  Outside of medicine Dr Paul runs an award-winning café and bookstore called the Baci Lounge, in Newmarket, New Zealand.  Proceeds are used to fund literacy programmes in low decile Auckland schools, with the aim of helping children to "dream with their eyes wide open."  When he is home, he teaches creative writing to disadvantaged children (by visiting schools personally once a week, and funding school libraries).  He has also served on the National Commission of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).  Dr Paul has been described by the New Zealand Medical Association as "one of the most inspiring, intelligent and compassionate men you are likely to meet.” TIME magazine, in 2008, called him "Open Heart Surgeon” (TIME, July 17, 2008).  Dr Paul’s popular books include: Fiction: Cool Cut (Picador, 2007); To Kill a Snow Dragonfly (4th Estate, 2012); The Kite Flyers (Harper Collins, 2015); Non-Fiction: The Genetics of Health (Beyond Word/Simon and Schuster, 2017); Skin, a Biography (4th Estate, 2013); Dermocracy (Collins, 2015); Poetry: De Nature Melanoma (Middle Island Press, 2015).

Dr Melvyn Polon

Dr Melvyn Polon is a Paediatrician in Sydney, Australia.  He describes himself as an introvert feeling personality type.  He believes that a large number of our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors are driven by subconscious emotional forces. He also believes that the unconscious emotional dimension affects our health to a large extent. He has worked as a paediatrician for the past 30 years spending a lot of time telling children that the scared feeling, the sad feeling and the small feeling are all normal.  Sometimes we can do something to make ourselves feel better and sometimes we just have to feel the feeling and wait for it to pass.

Dr David Reilly

Dr David Reilly is a General Practitioner, homeopath, integrative medical practitioner and early practitioner of MindBody medicine.  He was one of the founding practitioners of the National Centre for Integrative Care in Glasgow, Scotland.  Dr Reilly’s work was credited by the Public Health Institute of Scotland with seeding the ‘Fifth Wave’ of Public Health, seminal in tackling the rising epidemics of modern living.  Dr Reilly has long been a healthcare reform advocate, emphasising the study of the human healing response and its catalysis through therapeutic relationship, and evolving self-care, as a necessary foundation for better care and health.  He used this focus as the basis of his leadership of the National Health Service National Centre for Integrative Care in Scotland, and led the creation of its new award-winning building as a model of a healing environment.  As National Clinical Lead for Integrative Care for the Scottish Government he helped spread these ideas nationally.  He has made extensive international contributions.  He now directs TheWEL Organisation and its radical courses that have been shown to help patients and staff transform their own wellbeing and health, and so better help others.

Dr Nina Sawicki

Dr Sawicki is General Practitioner, with an interest in qualitative research methods and congenital hearing loss.  In her spare time, she loves ‘tramping’ (hill walking, mountain climbing and bushwalking), and writing. She lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand

Dr Jenny Simpson

Dr Jenny Simpson was born in Scotland, coming with family, to Dunedin in New Zealand at the age of four.  She studied medicine at Otago, and Wellington, practicing in greater Wellington in family planning, sexual health, youth health services, General Practice and addiction medicine. She is now retired.

Dr Meaburn Staniland

Dr Meaburn Staniland is a General Practitioner with an interest in transformational men’s work, rites of passage for his sons and teenage boys, meditation and Balint psychotherapeutic group work.  He is based in Wellington, New Zealan.

Dr Tralee Sugrue

Dr Tralee Sugrue is a General Practitioner and homeopath based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Dr Geoffrey Toogood

Dr Geoffry Toogood is a Cardiologist, doctors’ mental health advocate, creator of ‘Crazy Socks4Docs Day,’ writer and long-distance ocean swimmer.  He is based in Melbourne, Australia

Dr Mark Wenitong

Dr Mark Wenitong is a Kabi Kabi man from South Queensland.  He is one of the founders of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association and works in clinical practice research and policy in Far North Queensland and Cape York, and is trying to retire and just play music with his grandkids. His main musical interests are reggae and jazz, though he can’t really play jazz. One of Australia’s first Aboriginal Doctors, Senior Medical Advisor, Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Cairns, past President and founder of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association and a member of numerous health advisory committees including the Australian Government’s General Practice Training Advisory Committee. Cairns, Australia.

Dr Robin Youngson

Dr Robin Youngson is an anaesthetic specialist in New Zealand, internationally renowned for his work on compassion in healthcare. A founding member of the national Quality Improvement Committee in New Zealand, Robin was the NZ representative on the WHO International Steering Committee for Patient Safety Solutions. Current positions include: Honorary Senior Lecturer at Auckland University; Editorial Board of the Journal of Compassionate Healthcare; Global Compassion Council of the international Charter for Compassion. Robin is the author of the acclaimed book ‘TIME TO CARE – How to love your patients and your job’ and has just published his second book ‘From HERO to HEALER -  Awakening the inner activist.'  Robin is the Co-Founder of Hearts in Healthcare, taking his work on compassionate healthcare to 15 countries around the world.  For further information see: