Dr Alan Soward OAM

ALAN Soward was standing beside his 95-year-old mother’s bed in 2019, saying his final goodbyes, when his wife Bev asked for a moment alone with her.

When Dr Soward left the room, a smile spread across his mother’s face as Bev told her that her son had been nominated for a Member of the Order of Australia award for his decades of work as a cardiologist.

She passed away a few weeks later. Now that process will finally come to fruition when Dr Soward receives the award in the 2024 Australia Day honours list.

Dr Soward graduated Monash University in 1976 the same year he was married going on to train at the Queen Victoria Medical Centre before moving to the Alfred Hospital for two years to complete his cardiology training.

He worked for several years in the Netherlands and after moving back to Australia, took up locum work in Mildura, enjoying it so much he never left.

“I worked here as a cardiologist and set up private practice next to the Mildura private hospital and the practice started off with myself as a doctor and Bev, as everything else,” Dr Soward said.

“The result now is the Mildura Cardiology. They employ 20 people, have numerous doctors who come and go and have trained specialists.”

“There have been some big changes over the years since it was just Bev and I.”

Throughout his storied career, Dr Soward said he always found helping clients the most rewarding part of his day.

“I have loved helping people, it was such an honour to have people tell me about their problems so I could try and work out what was wrong and what could be done to help them,” he said.

“That gave me a lot of satisfaction and I still like running into people I’ve cared for over the years at the supermarket or walking up Deakin Avenue, It’s very nice.

“I also got great enjoyment from employing people, adding to their lives and giving them a job in a happy and fulfilling workplace.”

Dr Soward also played a significant role in ensuring Mildura had access to life saving defibrillators.

“Some years ago, when automatic defibrillators were becoming widely known about, Mildura Cardiology donated defibrillators to sporting and social clubs,” he said.

“All in all, we gave about 50 defibrillators.

“One of them was used soon after when a gentleman who was training at one of the ovals had a cardiac arrest and the trainer who was there went and got the defibrillator from the club rooms.

“He pulled a hamstring whilst running over to get it, but he brought the defibrillator back and it was used to save the fellow’s life.

“He then had the underlying cardiac problem corrected and he’s lived 20 years since in good health.”

Dr Soward said he was proud to have been able to provide people with decades of care and honoured to receive an OAM.

“It makes it so much better for regional people to have access to services like cardiology which they would expect to have if they lived in a capital city,” he said.

“To have it in a big regional centre like Mildura is very good for people.

“I’m sure it gives people a feeling of reassurance that if they do require treatment, they don’t have to go off to a strange city and are able to have it done locally.

“I felt very humbled when I found out about my nomination and I thought, I just did my job, but obviously others thought that there was some recognition due.”

Courtesty of Sunraysia Daily Edition 25.1.24