An intensive care doctor is preparing to swim through one of the world’s busiest waterways this month to raise funds for a new Australian-first clinic for Nepean Hospital.
Associate Professor Stuart Lane, who works in Nepean’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), left the country this week to attempt the gruelling 32km, 12-hour swim across the English Channel to support the what he has dubbed ‘Critical Splash’.
Dr Lane is hoping to open the country’s first intensive care post-discharge outpatient clinic, supporting former ICU patients as they return to daily life in the community and reducing the requirement for re-admission to health care facilities.
"A lot of patients in intensive care can spend weeks or months in there and go through a very traumatic experience,” he told the Gazette. ”Machines can keep them alive and it can all have some severe physical and emotional impacts on their long term health.
“When they get home … they can often have long term problems with post traumatic stress trying to piece things together.
“[The clinic] can bring patients back and go through their physical and mental needs. We can help answer some of the questions they’ve got and fill in the gaps.”
Originally from England, Dr Lane has been a competitive swimmer all his life and travelled back to first attempt the Channel in 2009.
Bad weather prevented that swim and he is hoping this time the summer will be a bit kinder.
Dr Lane has been training for months in the lead-up to the challenge, swimming 40 to 50 kilometres a week in Glenbrook pool and travelling to Bondi for a six-hour ocean swim once a week.
“I’m feeling confident, I was a lot fitter eight years ago being eight years younger but I am better prepared mentally this time around,” he said.
Dr Lane left Australia yesterday (Wednesday) with wife Kathleen and three children, Ryan (8), Josie (6) and Teddy (4) by his side to cheer him on.
After a week in London and another week with his parents in northern England, Dr Lane will be ready to take on the Channel between July 28 and August 6, weather and tide permitting.
The biggest challenges will be not only the mental hardship of swimming continuously for 12 to 13 hours, but the cold.
“It’s mental stress and hypothermia,” Dr Lane said.
Dr Lane is hoping to raise $1,000 for every mile he swims, and has started a crowdfunding page for the community to donate. Donations towards ‘Critical Splash’ can be made at https://crowdfunding.sydney.edu.au/project/6890
His swim progress can also be followed live at http://cspf.co.uk/tracking#.