Resident doctor Sonia Foley is facing the challenges of working as an emergency doctor at Mona Vale, while also helping to care for her younger brother Brendan, who has down syndrome and schizophrenia. Brendan is a Special Olympics swimmer and has several world records to his name, helped in part by the tremendous support of his sister.
A talented swimmer herself, Sonia is out of bed about 4.30 most mornings to train Brendan at the Warringah Aquatic Centre. Sonia then heads to work within the ED at Mona Vale, a position she says is greatly rewarding.
“It’s very gratifying to be able to help people and make a difference to their lives. I also feel it’s important to take the time to communicate with patients and explain their situation. This can have a big impact and help patients manage their conditions.”
Sonia has four tertiary qualifications to her name and generally worked part time while also studying full time. At one stage, Sonia worked in admissions at Mona Vale Hospital, while also studying medical science. She is one of only a handful of lifestyle medicine physicians in Australia and would like to see a fall in preventable chronic diseases.
“It’s really worrying to see the increasing number of people with debilitating chronic diseases like diabetes, which could be avoided. I hope to be able to use my experience to help patients turn things around and dramatically improve their lifestyles.”