Dr Terry Pouras is finally ready to call it a day. In his last week as a paediatrician in North Adelaide, South Australia, Dr Pouras spoke to The Greek Herald about a career he has been passionate about.
By Martina Simos.
Baby Evdokia may not know it but she is one of the last infants to be held by Dr Terry Pouras.
In a career spanning six decades, he has held at least 100,000 children, with many becoming parents themselves and bringing their offspring to him as patients.
Migration to Australia:
As the son of refugee parents from Asia Minor (Smyrna), Dr Pouras arrived in Australia in 1953 at the age of nine with his mother and two sisters Ronnie and Lily, and landed in Melbourne. His father Christos and older brother Stratos had arrived 12 months earlier.
The family ended up in South Australia and lived on King William Road in Hyde Park. The siblings attended Unley Primary School. His father was a carpenter with no formal education while his mother Helli stayed home to look after the family.
“My father was in the Greek army when Italy invaded Greece,” Dr Pouras explained. “He learnt his trade by watching other master craftsmen.”
Ten years later, Dr Pouras graduated from Unley High School and was accepted to study medicine at the University of Adelaide. It was a moment of great pride for his parents when he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine.
“My father was proud when I was granted a scholarship to study medicine and he was particularly proud of my graduation as a doctor,” he said.
A medical path:
Dr Pouras began his career as a general practitioner, opening up a clinic in Norwood on the outskirts of the city, but admits he’s always had a ‘soft spot’ for babies and youngsters early on.
He worked in the clinic for four years but gave it up to focus on the health and wellbeing of babies and young children.
“After working as a general practitioner, I decided that this was not for me and my interest was devoted to children,” Dr Pouras explained.
“I wouldn’t be able to tell you the exact amount (of young patients), but I would have seen around 100,000 or more children during my career.
“I have always had a caring and protective tendency towards children in general from babies to young adults.”
Dr Pouras studied paediatrics for a further six years and in 1975 opened up his practice in North Adelaide where he will finish up today. He has no regrets about leaving it to retire just before his 80th birthday.
“I felt that I needed to prolong my career as I had a huge responsibility to nurture the development of children who were under my care,” he said.
“There is no time limit for this process to take place. It is a continuum of dedication and energy, and responsibility.
“I think I have done my share, and now it’s time to pass the baton on.”
He believes the field of paediatrics and paediatricians hold ‘a special place’ in society and has some advice for any future paediatricians.
“We can influence the life of a young baby and school-aged child, and a very impressionable teenager to a maturing young adult,” he said.
“Therefore, the aspiring paediatrician should be mature, dedicated, caring and prepared to spend a great deal of time with the child and the family.”
Finally, a retirement date:
Today, Dr Pouras thanked and said goodbye to his loyal staff and the last of his patients, many who are very sad to see him go. He too has been quietly going through similar emotions as he farewells a more than 50-year career as a doctor.
“I am already going through these emotions, and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the parents of the children who have been under my care,” he said.
“I am also very proud that I have been the only Greek-speaking paediatrician in Adelaide, and I have been able to help many families for whom English is not their first language.”
From next week, Dr Pouras said he will reflect and take the time to evaluate his contribution to medicine in a “relaxed way,” continue his music lessons and spend time with his family that includes his supportive partner Kelley Russo, his adult children and grandchildren.
“I can then concentrate on my family and my bouzouki playing career with my dedicated teacher,” he said.
“My bouzouki playing is progressing satisfactorily, and I have no intentions of giving it up. I enjoy spending time with my (bouzouki) teacher Mr John Kourbelis.
“I hope and expect to live many years after my retirement, and I can reflect on my life as a paediatrician in comfort with my family by my side.”