Dr Peter Scott Education and Training Centre set to open in West Timor

Friday is the first anniversary of the death of Canberra obstetrician Dr Peter Scott and his family, friends and colleagues have made sure he is not only remembered but his legacy of care is continued.

Dr Scott died by suicide on May 26 last year, sending his family and colleagues into a spiral of grief and disbelief at his loss.

While those closest to Dr Scott will be gathering on Friday to honour him in a personal way, they will also next month travel to West Timor to see the opening of the new Dr Peter Scott Education and Training Centre at the maternity hospital where he donated his expertise for many years.

The centre in Dr Scott’s honour was funded by public donations to a GoFundMe page set up by his step-daughter Elise Parker, matched by contributions from local medical charity the John James Foundation.

Dr Scott’s widow Ann-Maree Parker, a midwife, is travelling with friends, family and other Canberra medical professions to the Muder [Mother] Ignacia Hospital in the poverty-stricken town of Soe in West Timor, for the opening of the Dr Peter Scott Education and Training Centre on June 10.

Ms Parker, with her colleagues from Canberra, will then the next day be leading teaching sessions in emergency obstetrics for local midwives, nurses and doctors from the Soe community.

She said a piece of Dr Scott would always remain with Soe, as she planned to leave some of his ashes in a space next to the plaque for the centre, which is in the grounds of the hospital.

Dr Scott and Ms Parker made multiple trips to the hospital, and other parts of the developing world, to share their expertise, so mothers could safely deliver their babies and newborns could not only survive, but thrive.

“I’m looking forward to going over there to show my children what we do over there and to be with so many of my closest friends is going to be really special,” Ms Parker said.

She felt some solace knowing her beloved husband would live on through the teachings at the centre.

“Yes, and I’m hoping if this goes well, maybe I can continue doing it with the doctors and midwives from here, which is what we used to do,” she said.

“And that will give me some sort of purpose, I guess.”

Ms Parker said she had felt the support of the whole community over the last year.

“It’s been rough though,” she said.

Dr Scott and Ms Parker, who married in 2016, brought together their respective children in a blended family.

Her daughter Elise Parker, in the wake of her step-father’s shock death, started the GoFundMe page which raised more than $113,000 for the Muder Ignacio Hospital, which was opened almost seven years ago through the financial support of Canberra obstetrician Dr David O’Rourke and his wife Sue-Ann.

The O’Rourkes are also travelling to West Timor for the opening of the Dr Peter Scott Education and Training Centre, coinciding with the seventh anniversary of the opening of the Muder Ignacio Hospital, on June 11, 2016.

Dr O’Rourke said the pilgrimage to West Timor by Dr Scott’s family, friends and colleagues would be healing for all.

He said more than 100 local Indonesian doctors, nurses and midwives would be attending the training sessions with Ms Parker and the other Canberra medicos who would teach them everything from infant resuscitation to how to deal with a breech birth.

“Peter and Ann-Maree absolutely loved going over there and it’s about the people,” Dr O’Rourke said.

“It’s a really good perspective to compare our life here, to their life over there.

“Pete used to say all the time, ‘We get more going over there, than what they get out of us’. And once you experience these developing parts of the world, you can understand exactly what he means.

“Peter believed passionately in the power of education and the model of teaching is to ‘teach the teacher’. So the participants who will be coming, will go back to their little village, hospital or health centre to pass on that knowledge to others.

“It might be just that little bit that they have learnt which could be the difference between life and death. He would be very, very pleased.”

Nathalie Maconachie, grants and relationships manager at the John James Foundation, will also be attending the opening in West Timor after the foundation matched the funding to build the education centre in Dr Scott’s name.

“Peter was very connected to a lot of medical professionals in Canberra, so we’re really honoured to be part of something so meaningful,” she said.

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