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Doctor wins award in memory of trail blazing emergency physician

Dr Herman Chiu and Correne Wassertheil.

Peninsula Health Emergency Physician Dr Herman Chiu is the 2016 recipient of the Jeff Wassertheil Medal for excellence in emergency medicine.

The medal commemorates former clinical director of Peninsula Health’s Emergency Department, Associate Professor Jeff Wassertheil’s leadership and contribution to emergency medicine, prior to his passing in 2008.

Jeff’s wife Correne Wassertheil presented Herman with the medal on 7 June.

“Thank you to every-one who nominated me and thought I was worthy of this award, I’m very honoured,” said Herman.

“I never worked with Jeff but I’ve heard a lot about him and his work with the ambulance service and at Peninsula Health.”

Herman is described by his colleagues as a caring and supportive team leader to all staff including medical, nursing, clerical and allied health, and as someone who epitomises the definition of patient-centred care.

As well as treating patients, Herman is also the Director of Quality for the Emergency Department and has played a key role in driving quality improvements.

He has helped to develop new processes within both Frankston and Rosebud Emergency Departments to ensure the standard of care is of the highest quality.

Dr Mohan Kamalanathan was the recipient of the medal in 2009 and shared some memories of working with Jeff.

“My first encounter with Jeff was as a junior registrar back in 2000,” recalled Mohan.

“In my first week having come from the UK I said good afternoon Professor Wassertheil and he said uh-hm, Jeff – which is true Jeff.”

“The three things he taught me as a fresh, off the boat registrar were:  the swans, you had to be indoctrinated to the swans; the fact you could have a third shot in a cappuccino or a latte and the concept of kosher pork which I’ve never heard before,” laughed Mohan.

Jeff was involved in planning for the new Emergency Department at Frankston Hospital which opened in 2015 but sadly never got to see the plans come to fruition.

“It was very sad when he left us and we’ve continued to strive to become leaders in emergency medicine to live up to him,” said Mohan.

Jeff’s legacy will continue to be remembered by his colleagues and through the Jeff Wassertheil Medal, which is awarded every year.

Peninsula Health Emergency Physicians Dr Siba Sulaeman, Dr Herman Chiu and Dr Mohan Kamalanathan.


Jessica Mills
0419 868 824