A four-decade career of helping others draws to a close for Orange’s Deborah Longmore.
After a 41-year career in public pathology, Deborah Longmore closed the door of NSW Health Pathology’s Transfusion Service based at Orange Health Service, for the last time recently.
Born and raised in Orange, Deborah says her job came with a bit of luck when at the end of her studies she dropped into Orange Hospital to enquire if they had any work and was asked to start Monday. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“Pathology has given me an opportunity to combine what I love – science and people. It has also enabled me to grow, network, learn and be part of projects improving the service of public pathology across New South Wales,” Deborah said.
“There is always something interesting going on, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being able to make a difference to patients is what I’ve loved about my career.”
For the past 33 years Deborah has managed the Transfusion Service, which plays a critical role ensuring blood products are available to patients, many in life threatening situations where every second counts.
While she is humble about her career achievements, Deborah can be credited for the introduction of the trauma esky on the Orange and Western NSW helicopter services in the early 2000s. A life changing initiative, the trauma esky carries three units of O negative blood, which is a blood product that can be used irrespective of blood type and enables transfusion on the spot rather than at the hospital. Deborah saw the esky being used in a trial which was happening at Westmead Hospital.
Deborah says she also got lot of satisfaction talking at donor collection service nights and answering questions and sharing her knowledge at conferences, pre-COVID.
“I was second in charge of biochemistry when I was asked to look after the blood bank for what I thought was a week or two. While I knew a bit about blood, I have educated myself a lot, and networking and talking to others in Australia and internationally has been a tremendous experience,” she says. “In my career, I’ve seen public pathology go from strength to strength and the governance and standardisation of processes has been a significant part of the change,” she says.
On her retirement, Deborah says she plans to ease into it.
“I’m looking forward to being able to go to the gym uninterrupted, do a bit of gardening and spend time with my grandsons. And then who knows, we might travel,” she says.