At Breakfast at the Next Level, on Wednesday 4th March 2020, we will meet Professor David David, founder of the Australian Craniofacial Unit. Professor David, an accomplished and respected craniofacial surgeon, retired from clinical practice at the end of June 2018. In his career spanning five decades, he received worldwide recognition for his excellence in restoring dignity for more than 17,000 patients from all corners of the globe with facial deformities and disfigurements.
Professor David officially established the Australian Craniofacial Unit (ACU) in 1975 with the approval of then-South Australian Premier Don Dunstan, providing services at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. From the outset, the ACU has successfully bridged the public and private healthcare sectors in Australia, and brought university research, private industry and technology to the forefront of craniofacial treatments and knowledge. Inspired by Dr Paul Tessier, considered the father of craniofacial surgery, whom Professor David studied under in England and France before returning to South Australia, the ACU continues to operate as a multidisciplinary centre for patients from Australia, all of South-East Asia, from China to Indonesia, and other countries.
Patients receiving treatment are afflicted by conditions that are limiting, debilitating and, often, life-threatening. Deformities needing correction may include congenital distortion of the face and skull, cleft lip and palate abnormalities, facial growth anomalies, and tumours and other facial issues that require reconstructive surgeries. Other surgeries may result from the patient having been involved in an accident or suffering an injury through violence.
Professor David is reputed for his patient-first advocacy and his empathetic approach to medicine and surgery. Over his career, he has seen many patients with severe deformities go on to study and make a life for themselves.
“It doesn’t take much to be empathetic with the needs of a person giving birth to a child with facial deformities. The extraordinary humanity that comes out of that is humbling. Right from the moment of birth, we need to look and see what life is going to be like for the parents and the child. The deal is about setting up systems to enable people to get the best possible outcomes from all of the technologies and skills that are available, going beyond craniofacial surgery, and to do that with the best empathy that is possible,” Professor David said.
The care provided by the ACU is lifelong for the patient. Recognising that what is an insurmountable problem for one surgical field is routine for another, the full-time group of surgeons at the ACU are able to attempt to correct whatever situation they are presented with, strengthened by scientific and evidence-based protocols and measurable outcomes. The team of surgeons include those with craniofacial expertise, as well as neurosurgeons, micro surgeons, ear, nose and throat surgeons, ophthalmologists, and cardiologists. They are supported by health professionals such as anaesthetists, speech pathologists, paediatricians, psychiatrists, radiologists, dentists, and respiratory specialists, among others.
Last year, Professor David received the Tessier Medal from the International Society of Craniofacial Surgeons in recognition of his distinguished service to craniofacial surgery. In 2018, he was named South Australian of the Year. He is a Companion of the Order of Australia, and has been named South Australian of the Decade, among many other local and international awards. Professor David has authored six books and has had more than 250 articles published in various journals.
Professor David is Chairman of the Australian Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation (Craniofacial Australia). In this role, he promotes the ACU’s international responsibility, commissions and promotes research aimed at improving patient outcomes, develops and implements training and teaching courses worldwide, and manages the Unit’s overseas programs.
Join us for this special event. Enjoy the morning with the SOL team and fellow guests when we hear about the incredible work of Professor David David and his colleagues at the Australian Craniofacial Unit to perform “everyday miracles” for thousands of patients and their families.