glendon farrow

MB.BS (Hons) mba fracs maicd raamc

MEEt Glendon Farrow

Glendon (Glen) Farrow is a dual qualified adult and paediatric general surgeon with an interest in trauma. A specialist service medical officer in the Australian Army since 1981, he has undertaken a variety of postings at regimental and command level. He has deployed on several occasions both as a surgeon and as a Health Element Commander and is a qualified paratrooper.

Graduating MBBS (Honours) from the University of Melbourne in 1983, he undertook residency at Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) before a four-year stint in the Australian Regular Army. There he spent two years as the RMO 3rd Battalion RAR (Airborne) where he learnt many lessons about himself, risk and safety.

Returning to RMH in 1990 Glen completed the FRACS General Surgery and deployed to Rwanda in 1995. Based on his experiences there he undertook further training completing the FRACS Paediatric Surgery in 1999. At the same time, Glen instructed on Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST/ATLS) courses for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), developing the EMST Military Module for deploying medical officers in 2000.

Moving to Sydney in 2001 Glen worked as a consultant surgeon at Children’s Hospital Westmead and as the Commanding Officer Sydney Area Health Service (ADF). During this time, he deployed to Bougainville, Solomon Islands, East Timor and Bandah Aceh before moving into hospital director roles in 2005. Glen has been Director of Clinical Governance at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network since 2012, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney.

Glen’s military and surgical experiences have given him a strong underlying ethos of individual responsibility and accountability. For safety systems to work individuals must use them, and the next improvements in patient safety will come from improved individual performance at the bedside. Poor clinical decision making remains one of the top three causes of serious adverse events.

The errors in judgment being made now are the same as the errors being made when Glen commenced working in hospitals 34 years ago, only now there is data to support changing practice in order to improve patient safety. The constant turnover of junior medical and nursing staff means knowledge is lost and has to be relearnt, often through making the same mistakes. Glen is passionate about breaking this continuing cycle of potentially avoidable harm to patients.

In his spare time Glen has run several half marathons and the New York Marathon in 2017, raising funds for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation.