Hands-on and on time: The new doctor in Kingston and migraines for many years. The issues had been investigated thoroughly over time, but when she first came to see Dr Arya, her symptoms remained unexplained.
A mystery solved
Dr Vishal Arya (right) is happy to join the team at Ochre Medical Centre Kingston “I’ve been a hands-on doctor since my hospital days,” says Dr Vishal Arya, the latest doctor to join Ochre Medical Centre Kingston. “I’ve always enjoyed performing minor procedures, whether it’s skin cancer surgery, an ingrown toenail or a vasectomy.” Before coming to Canberra, Dr Arya’s hospital career took him to Mt Gambier and Gosford, and then to Port Augusta, where he was the Medical Director of Indigenous Health Services. He moved here in 2015 with his family and transitioned into general practice. “We really loved the city and wanted to stay, so we bought a house,” he says. “We’re not moving again! It is very family-friendly
here. It is so safe and welcoming, and it’s not too long to commute anywhere. We’ve developed our own community now and we’re very settled.” Dr Arya chose to join the Kingston practice after listening to feedback from patients who praised the staff and how things were run. He also received positive comments about the practice from medical colleagues. Although he misses some aspects of his hospital days, Dr Arya finds being a GP equally rewarding. He talks fondly of a patient who had been suffering from mysterious and debilitating stomach aches
“When I took over her care, I noticed some subtle changes on her blood tests so I started digging. I ordered more blood tests and ultimately she was diagnosed with an extremely rare blood disorder - she’s one of only four patients in the whole of Australia with the condition,” he says. “That’s why it took so long to diagnose even haematologists and other specialists didn’t pick it up initially. It wasn’t until we persisted with tests, and I kept talking to my network of non-GP specialists, that we got there in the end.” “Her current haematologist recently told her that she had been extremely vulnerable to serious issues. If we hadn’t picked up her disease when we did, she could well have developed a massive clot in her brain which may have killed her.” Fortunately, the condition has been completely resolved through medication and the patient is now symptom-free. “She was so happy and relieved to find an answer. She has two young kids and now her problems have been resolved and she has no ongoing pain, she can enjoy her time with them more.”
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The patient’s condition is so rare that researchers from around the world have asked her to join various clinical trials. “She is like a celebrity! When she goes to the hospital she says she feels like a unicorn,” laughs Dr Arya.
A punctuality Key Performance Indicator Another focus for Dr Arya is punctuality. “I call it my personal KPI: I want to be on time when I see my patients. When I am at home, if I have committed to something by 5pm it will be done by 5m on the dot! And it’s the same at work. As a patient myself, I hate to be kept waiting too long, so I feel I should not keep other people waiting. Of course, sometimes it’s out of my hands if there’s a consultation with a lot of complexity, but I always do my best.” Away from the medical centre, the hands-on doctor enjoys tackling DIY projects but he hastens to add, nothing too complicated. “Just small projects around the house that I like to do myself rather than call on someone else.” In addition, if he’s not busy on the tools, he’s likely to be found with a racquet in his hand. “I was a tennis player back in my school days,” he says. “Due to a few injuries I can’t play at the same level these days, but I greatly enjoy having a hit with the kids. I also play squash and badminton - all the racquet sports, as well as table tennis.”
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