As Congress drew to a close, we gained insights into the selfless leadership of Dr Richard Harris OAM, anaesthesia and aeromedical retrieval medicine expert and 2019 Australian of the Year.
He told of the heroic rescue of 12 boys and their devoted soccer coach, who spent 17 days in a flooded Thai cave before a team of middle-aged cave divers that were more “trainspotter” than “bronze skinned Baywatch hunk” found a way to free them.
Harris’ compelling and courageous account of a rescue against the odds left the audience in awe. He told the audience of the numerous ethical dilemmas he faced as the medic responsible for anaesthetising the boys, and of the nerves of steel required to “commit to a plan I felt had zero per cent chance of succeeding”, when the “alternatives were even worse”.
Harris talked about the strength of teamwork, and the magic that happens when “people come from very different backgrounds, but with a common goal in mind”. Adversity builds resilience, Harris said, echoing the thoughts of many property professionals grappling with today’s challenging market conditions.