IT hasn't been an easy journey but Mildura's newest cardiologist has finally arrived.
Dr Sachin Sondhi arrived from India on December 8 bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm.
Mildura Cardiology was beyond happy to have Dr Sondhi arrive after struggling to "attract a full-time cardiologist who was prepared to move to Mildura and make it their home".
"The main reason I chose Mildura is because of the immediate need for a cardiologist," Dr Sondhi said.
"They had Melbourne cardiologists flying in and out of Mildura every fortnight and Mildura Cardiology had been searching for a full time cardiologist for the past two and a half years."
The search for a new full time cardiologist came after Dr Alan Soward retired at the end of 2020 after 32 years of serving the community.
As the new permanent cardiologist residing in Mildura, Dr Sondhi aims to provide continuity of care for the community and support for GPs and both hospitals.
It was during his training that the 33-year-old discovered his desire to become a cardiologist.
"During my internal medicine training I came across many cardiac patients and, as we all know, cardiac diseases are the most common cause of morbidity and mortality," he said.
"A lot of young people are suffering from cardiac diseases right now and I got a chance to see these patients and I got a chance to treat them, so that is the main reason."
While working as a cardiologist, Dr Sondhi has also been required to work with many COVID positive patients over the past two years.
"For every family in India, there is not a single family that there was no COVID," he said.
"Every single family would have had one member that has had COVID, for me, it was my wife who had COVID, she was working in the COVID ICU and got infected, but she is fully vaccinated so had just a mild fever."
The private hospital that Dr Sondhi worked at in India saw all staff assist with COVID patients.
"Everyone had to give duties in the COIVD ward, even specialist doctors, including myself," he said.
"It's a very bad situation there, I worked in a private hospital and in peak times all 100 beds of the hospital had COVID patients.
"I have seen many young patients, including three patients who had complications because of COVID; one had a heart attack, one patient has fluid around the heart and another has weakening of the heart muscles.
"COVID also affects your hearts, not just the lungs."
Dr Sondhi said the best defence against COVID was to be fully vaccinated.
"Those patients that I have seen that are infected and fully vaccinated had a mild disease but those who aren't vaccinated or who are old and are diabetic or on dialysis, the mortality is more in these patients," he said.
"In young patients who are fully vaccinated, you can catch the infection but it's very mild."
Next year is expected to be a very exciting year for the young doctor who will not only be settling into Mildura, but also welcoming his first child in February with his wife, who is expected to make Mildura her home once the baby arrives.
Riley is our current registrar on secondment from The Alfred Hospital. He completed his MBBS with honours at Monash University in 2016, went on to complete Basic Physician Training at Alfred Health. Riley’s interests include all aspects of General Cardiology, with interests that extend to Stroke Neurology. He has worked previously at Mildura Base Hospital as a medical registrar and is hoping to return to Mildura as a cardiologist on completion of his specialty training.
Riley is involved in clinical education and teaches medical students on a twice-weekly basis. Outside of work, he has been enjoying the fresh air here in Mildura and runs on along the Murray. Over the weekends he has been enjoying having a hit at the driving range and the local golf courses. He is a passionate Collingwood supporter, but has been a little disheartened by their performance this year!
Sylvia completed her undergraduate training in Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne before undertaking an MBBS at Deakin University.
After working a year in Shepparton, she completed her Basic Physician Training at Eastern Health. She is now an Advanced Trainee in General and Acute Care Medicine and is hoping to combine this in the future with Cardiology training to provide holistic cardiovascular care.
Outside of work, Sylvia enjoys reading, hiking and looking after her 30+ indoor plants. She is a miserable cook so is looking forward to sampling all of the restaurants she has been recommended in Mildura.