13 December 2002

University of Queensland medicine graduate Cameron Mackay has traded the dead for the living.

The former police Senior-Constable was one of the Queensland Police Service’s highly qualified Scientific Officers working in the Forensics Sciences Branch, investigating scenes of arson, violent crime, and death.

Today December 13, Cameron Mackay will join those dedicated to the health of the living, receiving his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degrees at the University’s new $20 million UQ Centre.

“Essentially, I have had nine years of post-secondary study,” said Dr Mackay, 28, of New Farm. “And given that I intend to specialise, I don’t see a time when study will not be a part of my life. It’s part of the ongoing process that is modern medicine.’’

Dr Mackay received his Bachelor of Science degree from UQ before joining the police service, and completed the majority of a Masters in Forensic Science before starting medicine. He has also completed courses in specialised aspects of forensic science at universities in the United States.

Dr Mackay said he has grown and changed enormously since starting his first undergraduate degree.

“I applied to get into medicine straight out of school, but my score wasn’t quite high enough and I missed out,” Dr Mackay said. “I realise now I would have been hopeless, because I was the worst student in the universe and in the years since then I have learned a lot about application and working hard.

“If my time with the police service was good for one thing, it was for learning how to operate under pressure and make considered, confident decisions. Those skills are invaluable to me now.”

Dr Mackay said he loved his years with the police service, but felt he had more to offer in a medical career.

“It’s great to be working with people; especially those who can talk to you, and who can say thanks. For a long time the only ‘patients’ I had were long dead,” he said.

In the police service Dr Mackay had a particular passion for forensic osteology (the study of human skeletal remains). Although he has now diverted from this course, Dr Mackay’s background in anatomy has left him with a desire to pursue a surgical discipline.

“Surgeons have a saying that ‘surgery is 98 per cent decision and 2 per cent incision’. That philosophy is an indication of the importance of not just knowledge and education, but the ability to appropriately process that information in a given situation. In that regard I have grown enormously,” he said.

Media: Contact Dr Cameron Mackay (mobile 0409 776 552 or telephone (07) 3358 1101).