Retired surgeon proud of rare honour

ONE of Mount Druitt Hospital's longest-serving and most loved characters will become the second person at the hospital to have a facility named after him.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner will unveil the James "Mac" Wyllie operating suite today (April 1) in honour of the retired head of surgery who had been there since day one.

The only other person after whom a facility had been named was the late Joan Freeman.

Associate Professor James Mac Wyllie remains an emeritus consultant at the surgical department.

"I am humbled as there are other people who have contributed to surgery at Mount Druitt," he told the Star.

He never thought he'd still be here when the hospital opened in 1982.

"I thought I'd be here for a while," Professor Wyllie said. "But I grew to be part of Mount Druitt Hospital and it became part of me."

Professor Wyllie hasn't always agreed with hospital administrators and was critical of decisions to relocate intensive care and emergency surgery to Blacktown.

"It's sad because there are willing and able surgeons and nurses who want to do emergency surgery at Mount Druitt," he said.

Professor Wyllie believes Mount Druitt hospital needs to keep its identity rather than be part of a joint hospital with Blacktown.

‘‘The future of Mount Druitt is a glowing one but the cake is still in the oven,’’ he said.

‘‘I think a lot more could be done to relieve the pressure at Westmead and Blacktown. I hope in 10 years’ time, the hospital will still be here with a 24-7 emergency surgical department. But it will take a lot of organising and more good-natured debate.’’

Mount Druitt head of surgery Dr Nicholas Ngui was mentored by Professor Mac Wyllie.

‘‘Mac stood up for the community and tried to look after the residents when things got taken away.’’

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