Specialist Anaesthetist

Dr Richard Harris

BMBS, DA(UK), FANZCA, Dip DHM, FFEWM. PG cert Aeromed Ret


Richard Harris (Harry) joined SAS in 1998 after completing his anaesthesia training in the UK, Adelaide and New Zealand. He enjoys a varied anaesthesia practice with particular interest in anaesthesia for breast and endocrine surgery, ENT and acoustic neuroma surgery, upper GI surgery and endoscopy.

Harry’s medical interests have a broader base however. He has managed to combine his taste for adventure with his medical practice and a lifelong interest in the underwater world. This led him into the field of diving and hyperbaric medicine. His work at South Australia’s emergency medical retrieval service (MedSTAR) as an aeromedical consultant continues to challenge him with the care of critically ill patients in remote and austere environments.

Harry worked with AusAID in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu for two years providing anaesthesia and intensive care services in the setting of a developing medical system. His love of underwater exploration has led him to work on National Geographic documentaries, feature films and with various teams worldwide in the role of diver, underwater cameraman and of course medical support. He is a member of the Explorers Club of New York and recently received an Australian award for “Outstanding Contributions to Cave Exploration”.

Harry has a professional and voluntary interest in search and rescue operations, establishing the first sump rescue training course in Australasia. By building relationships with emergency services locally he has been preparing for such an event. The 2018 Thailand cave rescue was an opportunity to put this training to work.

In 2018 he received the Star of Courage, Australia’s second highest civilian award for bravery, and the medal of the Order of Australia for his role in the Thailand cave rescue.

Harry is the 2019 Australian of the Year for South Australia and the joint 2019 Australian of the Year with his dive partner Craig Challen.

Harry enjoys challenging himself, gaining new knowledge and skills within his spheres of interest, and actively embraces professional development in medicine. Some recent courses attended include:

  • Practical Airway Management, Maryland Shock Trauma Centre, BaltimoreEmegency Management of Severe Burns (EMSB)
  • Emergency Management of Severe Burns (EMSB)Ultrasound in Intensive Care
  • Ultrasound in Intensive CareMajor Incident Medical Management Support Course (MIMMS)
  • Major Incident Medical Management Support Course (MIMMS)AUSMAT – Australian Medical Assistance Team Course NCCTRC
  • AUSMAT – Australian Medical Assistance Team Course NCCTRCCBRIE Incident Management Course
  • CBRIE Incident Management Course

Harry also has his own weekly podcast, Real Risk.