A German-trained doctor who in less than a decade turned Mount Isa into a key training ground for rural doctors has been named a 'Legend of the Bush' by his colleagues at the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland conference on the Gold Coast.
Saturday night's awards ceremony saw Dr Ulrich Orda presented with the honour, acknowledging his significant service to the north west Queensland health district since arriving in Mount Isa from Europe in 2008 with his wife Sabine and their children.
Dr Orda was described as a tireless campaigner for better working conditions for rural doctors, who has led by example in providing care to remote patients during extreme events.
In 2009 he was a key medical provider to the people of Karumba, who were isolated for months in the wake of severe floods.
He has provided care to Indigenous patients in Normanton, Doomadgee and Mornington Island, in addition to his workload as senior medical officer in the emergency department of Mount Isa Hospital, where he was appointed director of the unit, as well as director of clinical training in 2010.
RDAQ president Raymond Lewandowski said that in 13 years, Dr Orda had made a significant contribution to RDAQ, including leading the rural specialists' group, and through his untiring advocacy.
"Dr Orda's contribution to rural communities across north west Queensland has been profound, while supporting rural doctors and rural medicine with generosity and tenacity in equal measure," Dr Lewandowski said.
"These are the types of qualities that define our rural doctors, generalists who need to be resourceful and adaptable in challenging working environments, where patient needs are often greater and more complex, especially in our very remote communities."
"This is why the members of RDAQ are proud to include Uli as a true Legend of the Bush, one of our highest honours."
In 2010, Dr Orda and other clinical directors were responsible for gaining the hospital accreditation for intern placements, enabling Mt Isa hospital to recruit interns for the first time in its history in 2012, so that it continues to have an intern cohort to this day.
He was also a key consultant in developing the design and planning for the redevelopment of the Mt Isa hospital ED, which was completed in 2011.
Dr Orda thanked his peers for the Legend of the Bush honour, and paid tribute to his many mentors in the rural medical network, singling out his wife Sabine, a medical educator, as a constant source of support and strength.
It is a bittersweet moment for Dr Orda who lost his son Lukas Orda aboard the Gulf Livestock 1 ship which went missing last year off the coast of Japan.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on Google News
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.