MIDWIFE Torie Finnane's ability to share her expertise will continue through a foundation set up by her family in her name.
The Torie Finnane Foundation was launched this month by the late Mrs Finnane's husband Liam, alongside her sister Caddie O'Hare and brother Geoff O'Hare, with the mission of improving regional maternity services through the professional development of the delivery ward and special care staff.
Mr Finnane is hoping it's a way of bridging the gap between services offered in country hospitals and their metropolitan counterparts, with his family's own experience an example of the difficulties faced by rural patients.
After giving birth to the couple's third child, Maisie, in December 2020, Mrs Finnane died three days later from bacterial meningitis. She was 34.
Maisie also became unwell and was transferred to Sydney's Royal Hospital for women while her family remained in Orange.
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Mr Finnane stressed the service at Orange did its best within its own professional limitations and he is now keen to help expand the expertise that could have kept his family together at such a terrible time.
"Maisie was born, Torie died three days later and then Maisie had to go to Sydney when we were trying to deal with all of that, she needed a PICC [peripherally inserted central catheter] line, which, I'm not a doctor but it don't think it's an overly complicated procedure ... but Orange isn't set up to do that and then to manage it," Mr Finnane said.
Mr Finnane said a common theme from his wife's medical colleagues was how beneficial the knowledge she brought to Orange's hospital was, knowledge gained at working at major Sydney hospitals Prince of Wales Private Hospital in Randwick and Royal Prince Alfred at Camperdown.
"So it was suggested to us by her boss at the time, maybe you could look at education and exchanges, so that's why we went down that path and it's evolved from there," Mr Finnane said.
"There's a need for it and the hospital here is super keen, they're keen to work with us to kick it off the ground."
Work is now being done to provide the opportunity for staff to spend four weeks at a major hospital's maternity unit with the Royal Women's Hospital at Randwick also interested.
"The exact specifics of that haven't been finalised at the moment but the general idea is someone will ... go down there for a four week stint at a time and be immersed in that area," he said.
"Someone from the special care nursery out here will go and work at the Royal Women's and will just see things and experience things they never would out there because all of those high-risk cases go to Sydney or Newcastle or Canberra."
Although only two weeks old, the foundation has gained momentum and Mr Finnane believes it has the potential to expand its reach to other regional centres. But at the moment, he says Orange is the focus.
"We want to grow this thing as big as we can but ultimately it depends on how much money we have, and also we've got to start somewhere so we're starting with Orange because we're here and that's where Torie and the wheels are well and truly in motion with that."
For more information on the Torie Finnane Foundation, and how to donate, go to www.toriefinnanefoundation.com.au.
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