Dr Richard “Harry” Harris

ANZCA President, Dr Rod Mitchell, has praised the efforts of fellow Dr Richard “Harry” Harris for his role in the Thai cave rescue.
Adelaide-based anaesthetist Dr Richard “Harry” Harris has been hailed as a global hero this week for his crucial role in saving 12 children and their soccer coach from flooded caves in Thailand where they had been trapped for more than two weeks.

An experienced cave diver, Dr Harris swam into the cave with a Thai medical team to triage the boys and determine their fitness to make the 4 kilometre journey through the flooded cave complex to safety. He was one of a group of 19 Australians who helped rescue the children as part of an international team.

Dr Harris administered a sedative to each of the boys before they left the ledge where they sheltered inside the mountain cave to calm them. British divers had requested Dr Harris help with the rescue mission. He left the cave only when the last boy was rescued each day.

One of Dr Harris’ MedSTAR colleagues in Adelaide said: “Harry was a quiet and kind man who did not think twice about offering his support on the mission. You’ll find that people that do this kind of work don’t actively speak long and hard about what they do and how they do it, they just get on with the job and get the job done and make sure they’re able to look after people.”

Dr Harris told the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the rescue that “the big heroes in this are these children and the former Thai Navy seals who were looking after them.”

Sadly, in the aftermath of the rescue, Dr Harris learned that his father, respected former vascular surgeon Dr James Harris, had died unexpectedly.

On behalf of ANZCA, college president Dr Rod Mitchell offered condolences to Dr Harris and his family. 

He praised Dr Harris with “heartfelt acknowledgement from all your colleagues at ANZCA for contributing so selflessly to the rescue of the boys from the Thai caves. Thanks Harry. You’ve made the world a better place.”
Copyright © Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.