Sydney Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Jim O’Brien is one of a unique group of doctors who, having graduated from medicine and completed their specialist training, believed they were about to lead a ‘normal’ professional life. Suddenly, along comes the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute and everything is turned upside down. Do you take a public stand on principle, or submit to a government takeover of private medical practice? It was for this reason that Dr O’Brien resigned from Manly Public Hospital, creating an uncertain future for his wife and 5 children, and joined with other Orthopaedic and Surgical colleagues in the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute led by Dr Bruce Shepherd.
Dr O’Brien then went on to establish a private orthopaedic practice, working for many years at the Sydney Adventist Hospital (the SAN). Since the Doctors’ Dispute, Dr Jim O’Brien has served his profession through his strong support and contribution to the Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Australian Doctors’ Federation) where he remains a highly regarded member of the ADF Management Committee.
Throughout his long career, Dr Jim O’Brien stayed true to his medical ethic and in a very personal way committed his life to the care of the sick and suffering, never wavering in his belief that human life is a precious gift and those who can preserve it must fulfil their high calling. Jim, you are a quiet and wonderful person. An inspiration to all of us. Devotion should be your middle name. You have always been there to support the cause and those you care for. You, above all, deserve a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine