MBBS, FRCS, FRACS, PhD General and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon
Shenfine not Sinn Fein!
No, I'm not Irish... But I do get asked a lot about my name. It is unusual. My father was Polish and his father was from the Ukraine. So I guess the name comes from there or thereabouts. However, I'm a Geordie! I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England, a beautiful and underrated part of the world. So I'm English/British, married to a Scot, living in Australia.I fell in love with Australia in 1991 when I went to Townsville on a medical elective as a student doctor. Following a variety of junior doctor posts, I became interested in oesophago-gastric disease. As a result, I spent three years in full time research studying patients with oesophageal cancer, leading to the award of a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Thereafter I became a junior surgeon and my training took me to hospitals throughout the North East of England including the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, North Tees University Hospital, Stockton and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne. During this time, I found out that there was a surgical registrar exchange program between Newcastle and the Southern Health rotation in Victoria.
I was lucky enough to get this spot so spent six months of my surgical training in Sale, Gippsland and then a further six months at Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia. I knew that I wanted to return to Australia so after completing my training, I was secured a surgical fellowship for a year in advanced laparoscopic and upper gastrointestinal surgery at the Upper GI and Soft Tissue Surgical Unit, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia. This internationally renowned unit is a world leader in upper gastrointestinal surgery, pioneering many techniques that are in their infancy in the United Kingdom, such as the minimally invasive approach to removal of the oesophagus as well as developing the laparoscopic techniques that we now take for granted in anti-reflux surgery and bariatric (anti-obesity) surgery. Being a Brit, I had to return to the UK but it wasn't all bad! I was appointed to an amazing job as a Consultant Surgeon at the Northern Oesophago-Gastric Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne in September 2008, specialising in the treatment of oesophago-gastric disease and in advanced laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. The RVI is the largest upper gastrointestinal cancer centre in the UK. It has a national and international reputation for clinical work and research and I was one of only five surgeons that performed oesophageal and gastric cancer surgery in Newcastle upon Tyne. The city I was born in, a hospital I trained in and working with the surgeons I most admired: Professor Mike Griffin, Mr Nick Hayes, Mr Daya Karat and Mr Kamil Wynne. My trainers who became my colleagues and I'm very proud to say my friends. What an experience! However, just like my country-hopping father, I had a wanderlust and I couldn't get Australia out of my head. In 2012, out of the blue, I got a phonecall from one of my surgical mentors - there was a specialist Consultant Surgeon job in Adelaide that would suit my skills (and personality), would I consider it? The timing seemed to be fate and the rest is history...My public office is located in the Eleanor Harrald building of the Royal Adelaide Hospital (the RAH). My general outpatient clinic is held on a Monday morning.
My surgical interests include surgery for weight loss, oesophageal and gastric cancer surgery, acid reflux disorders and anti-reflux surgery, surgery for gallstones and hernia surgery. I have a particular interest in advanced laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgical techniques, I used to run a training program for the consultant surgeons in these techniques in the North East of England. Common general surgical problems include hernias and gallstones both of which often require surgery and these can be approached laparoscopically – this is also known as ‘keyhole surgery’. A specific upper gastrointestinal problem is the management of acid reflux and hiatus hernias. Surgery is not always required for these conditions but when surgery is indicated, it is vitally important to get this right and a laparoscopic approach means smaller scars, a more rapid return to normal activity and less pain post-operatively.
I have been perhaps even more fortunate to meet Dr Justin Bessell and the amazing AOS team at SA Group of Specialists. We hit it off straight away and I was astounded by the team approach that he was taking in managing patients in the private sector. I don’t believe that there is anyone else in Adelaide who works like this and has such a cohesive team. I couldn’t resist and have joined his group so now offer private outpatient services at the SA Group of Specialists Wakefield Clinic on level 1. I operate at both Calvary Wakefield Hospital and more recently at Burnside Memorial Hospital.
I can offer advice and surgical management in four areas:
Oesophageal and Gastric dysplasia and cancer
Benign upper GI disorders such as gastro-oesophageal reflux, motility disorders and paraoesophageal hiatus hernia
Bariatric surgery and weight loss solutions
General surgery including laparoscopic and open abdominal and groin hernia repairs, cholecystectomies and bile duct exploration