Q&A with Warren Adie

Warren Adie is an emergency medicine, aeromedical retrieval and telemedicine consultant, living and working in Alice Springs. He’s a strong proponent of POCUS with a special interest in musculoskeletal ultrasound.

At SSEM22, Warren will be facilitating the Touching a Nerve ultrasound workshop.

Questions and Answers

Why Alice?

This is the place where… people throw all these words about tribalism… a while ago someone talked about these different tribes in medicine and how we should be coming together. In Alice there’s only one tribe. You work at the hospital. It’s so easy to get things done. There’s no bureaucracy, no red tape. Everyone is on team patient. It’s the way it should be.

What are the patients like?

Most people come here for the patients. 65% of presentations are indigenous. 83% of admissions. It’s a completely different mob. I’ve been meeting the elders. The respect I have gained for indigenous culture, it’s just blown me away. I’ve got a really privileged job, especially doing retrieval, flying into communities where you need permits to drive into. There are a couple of mob there, who were found in 1984. They had never seen a white person before then.

Have the locals accepted you?

A while ago, an older women was sick, and the elder came in with all the family members. There was this whole crowd around the bed. And the elder said, we just want to let you know that it makes us very proud to see you here as a doctor. To be looked after by you gives hope to our children. Where are you from? And I thought, I think he thinks I’m Indigenous. I said Kalgoorlie. He said where are your mob from? I said my mob’s from Kalgoorlie. And then I had to say… actually I’m Indian.

What’s the social life like?

I can have a barbecue at my place and the director of the ICU will be there, the director of the ED will come… I had an awesome dress-up party, 80’s music. Everyone dressed up. I came as Tina Turner. No-one knew who I was.

It must be said, Tina Turner does not have a beard.

No. No-one was looking at my beard. They were looking at my legs.

Did you have a leopardskin miniskirt?

No. It was better than that. A tight sequinned dress with fishnet stockings, and at the op shop I found these amazing pumps. I used to a bit of ballroom dancing, so one of my attributes is that I can dance in pumps. We put on the Rasputin song, Ra-Ra-Rasputin. I did Cossack dancing in pumps. They were impressed.

Is it cold there? Wearing trousers.

It got down to minus 4 this winter. Big frosts.

Have you got a beanie?

Oh man. If you want a beanie, this is the place to come. The Beanie Fest. They get hand crocheted beanies from all around Australia, around the world. South America, they’re pretty big, they send them across. I’ve got multiple beanies. In fact, just to let you know, for a couple of years in a row I won the competition for the person who tried on the most beanies. There is a spotter watching surreptitiously.

Did you get a prize?

No my friend. Just the kudos.

The Touching a Nerve Workshop has just sold out. What’s the attraction?

People saw in the past anaesthetists doing all these wonderful blocks, using landmark technique. It takes years of practice. Now, with ultrasound in your hand, if you know what you are looking for, how to find it, how to dissect with lignocaine, that gives people confidence to say – hey I can do that block. People like the reward of watching local go in. The doughnut sign. They can see it. Seeing is believing.

How did you get into it?

I went down to Bathurst. They were having the motocross and the superbikes. I used to travel with the superbikes and the V8 supercars and the motocross. Guys would come off their bikes and get horrible gravel rash. To the point that you would have to take them to theatre to wash this gravel off. One day I had learned about ultrasound guided supraclavicular blocks. I did one and was able to sit there with a scrubbing brush and pull all the gravel out and the guy was just sitting there going… This is amazing!

What are the most common blocks done in your ED?

The juniors love ultrasound guided ulnar, median and radial nerve blocks for the hand. That’s where it has really taken off. And the ankle blocks. When a person has spinifex in their foot, the pain… Now you put a good ankle block in and they can’t feel anything.

Have you ever had a block go wrong?

Umm… not worked… not worked for as long as possible…I’ve got to think about that… No. Can’t remember one.

Warren Adie will be facilitating at the Spring Seminar on Emergency Medicine, Noosa, 18-21 October 2022.

Spring Seminar on Emergency Medicine

Noosa, 18-21 October 2022

Jo is an emergency medicine specialist based on the Sunshine Coast. He has qualifications in high fidelity simulation, aeromedical retrieval and point of care ultrasound, and a special interest in educational videography | @FlippEM |

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