OAM to Skeptic Dr Peter Arnold

Australia Skeptics congratulates Dr Peter Arnold, who was awarded an OAM in the last Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Dr Arnold, 81, is a long time Skeptic, attending many meetings and contributing in various ways to the Skeptical movement.

His award, the Medal (OAM) in the General Division, was for “service to medicine through a range of roles with professional organisations, and as a general practitioner”.

He has held leadership positions with many organisations, including as Chair of the AMA Federal Council in the late 1990s. But, as he told Australian Doctor, he is most proud of his work setting up Sydney’s coronary ambulance service in 1968.

“All those other things were very meta-medical,” he told the publication, referring to the aspects of his career for which he was given the award. “But the coronary ambulance service is something that made a real difference to people’s live.”

Including his own!

“I had my coronary in 1989 and I can remember the boys arriving in a coronary ambulance. Although maybe I wasn’t really in a position to appreciate it just then.”

Someone else who did appreciate it was publishing magnate Kerry Packer. Suffering a heart attack in 1990, he had been revived by a passing ambulance, which was one of the few equipped with a portable defibrillator.

Packer donated $2.5 million – matched by the NSW State government – to fit defibrillators into every ambulance, earning them the name “Packer Whackers”.

Dr Arnold’s heart attack forced him to retire, but his legacy lives on in every ambulance in NSW, in addition to his other medical and skeptical activities.

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