Featured Surgeon: Dr. Yishay Orr

Yishay Orr, MBBS BSc Hon FRACS, PhD

WTS is privileged to feature Dr. Yishay Orr, who shares some of her background here:

“I completed my undergraduate medical degree at the University of NSW graduating in February 1999. I then progressed through intern and residency years and commenced working in cardiothoracic surgery at Liverpool Hospital in 2001 and then Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 2002. During 2003-5 I completed a research PhD investigating neutrophils and the systemic inflammatory response to cardiopulmonary bypass through the School of Medical Sciences at the University of NSW. After a year of general surgical training in 2006 I commenced my Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgical training, working for 2 years at Royal Perth Hospital with a strong focus on Heart & Lung transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. This was followed by the next 2 years of my training in the Cardiothoracic surgery, heart & lung transplant and MCS unit at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. After obtaining Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in January 2011 I embarked on 3 years of paediatric cardiac surgery training with 2 years at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Australia followed by a Faculty Instructorship (Fellowship) at Texas Children’s Hospital during 2013.

Since March 2014 I have been working as a Consultant Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital in Sydney and as an adult cardiothoracic and congenital surgeon at Westmead Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital both also in Sydney, Australia. My main clinical focus is the surgical treatment of paediatric and adult congenital heart disease, particularly neonates. My other current active clinical interests include adult cardiothoracic surgery, management of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), active involvement in paediatric cardiac intensive care and planning for the establishment of a paediatric heart transplant and mechanical circulatory assist program in my home state of New South Wales, Australia. I am actively involved with and have a strong passion for humanitarian work, traveling with a non-profit organisation Open Heart International (www.ohi.org.au) to various underprivileged countries to train and partner with local teams to perform paediatric cardiac surgery in a low-cost, sustainable fashion. This is a strong area of passion and focus for my career. I am also involved in academic work researching clinical outcomes following paediatric cardiac surgery at the Heart Centre for Children at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

I have a truly dedicated and supportive husband and an adorable West Highland terrier called Angus who keeps us company. Running and scuba diving are my passions outside of work – there is nothing better than running for 21.2 km to clear your head and keep you strong!

To be honest cardiac surgery defines me – I believe that it’s a wonderful privilege to be able to do what I do – the ability to reconstruct a little baby’s heart with the aim of giving them a normal life and to see them thriving years later brings a joy that almost cannot be described. I have a truly selfless husband who allows me to dedicate extraordinarily long hours to my work and is always ready to go for a long run with me! I have also come to realise that sometimes you can’t have it all and I haven’t managed to squeeze children of my own into the equation but my life is extraordinarily fulfilling in other ways!”

Dr. Orr was nominated by Dr. Nikki Stamp, who provided the following comments:

“Yishay is an adult and congenital cardiac surgeon in Sydney Australia. I’ve known her since we were both registrars and she has always led by example clinically and with her leadership around the hospital. She is an excellent surgeon and gives selflessly to help her patients, including those who are less fortunate by operating with Open Heart International in developing countries.”

Dr Yishay Orr

Dr Orr and her husband

Dr Orr operating

Dr Orr with her humanitarian team from Open Heart International