Coyle, Patricia Margaret
From Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive
BSc (Med) 1959 MB BS 1960 Dip Med Trop (Antwerp) Dip Past Theo (Canada), FANZA FRCA
Patricia Coyle established the Diploma in Anaesthesia and Master of Medicine (Anaesthesia) programs at Makerere University in Uganda.
Patricia studied Medicine at the University of Sydney and graduated in 1960. Following her internship at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, she entered a international Catholic religious order, the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She taught in the Congregation’s schools in Australia and New Zealand. After final profession at the Society’s HQ in Rome in 1969, she studied pastoral theology at the University of Montreal 1969–70.
In 1971 (still a Religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart) she resumed medical practice. She trained in anaesthesia in hospitals in Auckland New Zealand and in Sydney, qualifying for the Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1977 (later the Australian New Zealand College of Anaesthetists).
Patricia was asked by the congregation to work in Africa; she prepared for this with study at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, gaining the Diploma of Tropical Medicine in 1981. In Uganda she worked for the Ministry of Health and/or Makerere University in Kampala. She established a University Diploma in Anaesthesia and a Master of Medicine (Anaesthesia). She left Uganda after the first Ugandan specialists qualified in 1989. (There were two further periods of work in Uganda: a month as visiting lecturer in 1992 and six months at a hospital in the north of the country in 1997.)
Inspired by her time in Africa, Patricia spent six months in private study of philosophy and African medical anthropology in London, before returning to medical practice in Sydney. In 1991 she went again to Africa – the University department of anaesthesia at the Black Lion Hospital, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, as specialist anaesthetist and again training post-graduates, for six months. This was followed by two, three month tours of duty with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as anaesthetist in war surgery teams – at Khao-I-Dang on the Thai-Cambodian border in 1992 and at Quetta in Pakistan in 1993. These last experiences initiated her commitment to the work of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Her last overseas work was as specialist anaesthetist with an Médicins Sans Frontières team in East Timor in 1999 for three months.
The last six years of Patricia’s clinical work saw a gradual transition from anaesthesia to emergency department work, and also some years as a tutor in the postgraduate medical program at the University of Sydney.
Patricia’s work has been recognised by the award of the Pask Certificate of Honour by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland in 1984, Fellowship (by Election) of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (now the Royal College of Anaesthetists) in 1988 and in 2001, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.
In retirement from clinical work, Patricia maintains an active interest in appropriate medical technology for the developing world, and in other aspects of developing world medical practice. She is currently a member of a small group at the University of Sydney developing a website dedicated to appropriate medical technology in the developing world and related activities. She is also involved with the Australian Network of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Citation: Mellor, Lise (2008) Coyle, Patricia Margaret. Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive, University of Sydney.
An alternate version appears in: Mellor, L. 150 Years, 150 Firsts: The People of the Faculty of Medicine (2006) Sydney, Sydney University Press.