February 17, 2023

Get to know: Dr Peter Cheng


Meet Dr Peter Cheng, Emergency Department Physician

Q: Tell us about a career highlight for you while you’ve been with Northern Health. 

A: Working in ED is full of drama and highlights, so it’s hard to pick just one! I don’t ask for much: for me it’s the basic things like reduction of a dislocated shoulder, teaching juniors on the floor, a smooth procedural sedation…but also the heroic interventions like catching a baby in the carpark, or a successful resuscitation of a critically ill patient. In 2015, I was appointed as one of the directors of Emergency Medicine Training. I feel very fortunate to have colleagues who believe in me and continue to support me over the years. It’s an immense privilege to be part of a dynamic group of consultants who care deeply for our discipline, each other and the well-being of our trainees. In my opinion, no other ED does it better than the Northern!

Q: What are you really excited for in 2023?

A: I’m looking forward to promoting the use of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) in ED. I get a kick out of watching the penny drop for my registrars when they pick a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, a punctured lung or an obstructed kidney. I believe when more clinicians integrate sonography into their practice, more patients receive safer, targeted and timely care. The future looks bright for POCUS in Emergency Medicine.

Q: What’s your most-used productivity hack?

A: I made and distributed a couple of instructional videos showing others how to store ultrasound images and labelled various parts of the slit lamp to make the eye examination easier. I’m not sure if these are “hacks”, but they are helpful aids for junior doctors who are unfamiliar with the equipment.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

A: Night owl. In my younger days, I used to be a morning person, but these days I try to squeeze in a few extra minutes of sleep-in time after a hard evening on-call shift or from staying up late watching Netflix… if the kids will let me!

Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

A: Can I name two? 1) I was mistaken for Bruce Lee by a patient who presented incredibly disinhibited. Luckily, he didn’t pick me as his martial arts sparring partner! 2) I was introduced to a patient by a respected senior ED nurse as “one of the most caring doctors”, which made me feel quite special, but terribly embarrassed at the same time. It isn’t easy, but it is a reputation that I strive to live by.  Bruce Lee sounds much cooler, though…