Dr Carl Waldmann has been a consultant in intensive care at the Royal Berkshire Hospital since 1986, and consultant anaesthetist specialising in vascular and paediatric anaesthesia. He was president of the Intensive Care Society of Great Britain 2007-9 and is now about to become vice dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, following two years as the chairman of the ICM’s Professional Standards Committee.
Here Carl, 62, talks about his passion for sport and ‘the beautiful game’; he has been one of the club doctors for Leyton Orient Football Club since 1998.
My dad was a GP near the football ground which is where my link with the club started. I’ve supported Leyton Orient since 1962 when the club got promoted to League Division 1 (now called the Premier League) alongside Liverpool. We immediately got relegated, together with Manchester City. The fortunes of those other clubs have differed markedly from that of Leyton Orient over the years.
By pure coincidence I met the club doctor, Ian Beasley, on a beach in Greece in 1998. One day he couldn’t make a match and I had to stand in at short notice. From that day on I’ve never looked back and for that matter, neither has Ian – he’s now team doctor for England after a long stint at Arsenal.
It is great to be involved with the team and I’ve been lucky enough to travel abroad three times for pre-season training. I generally attend all home games plus away matches when I can, especially if they are playing ‘West’ as they pick me up ‘en route’ at Reading services.
Obviously my responsibilities with the club differ considerably from my work in theatre and ICU but they are mutually beneficial as I constantly refresh my expertise. I have to update my skills on a ‘crowd doctor and pre-hospital care’ course and work closely with paramedics. I’m probably called to provide treatment in one out of every two matches.
I think many doctors would benefit from taking their medical skills into outside arenas; we don’t have all the comforts of the hospital immediately at hand and learn to adapt to this situation. I also meet different people and get a buzz from broadening my medical knowledge.
I would have liked to have been a footballer but was not good enough! Fencing is my sport – I was under 20 champion of Great Britain and used to fence for the UK under 20 team, for Cambridge and London universities and for the Combined Services team when I was in the RAF. I won the fencing competition at the Royal Tournament four times.
Certainly my family first. I’m also proud of being the president of the Intensive Care Society and now about to be vice dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care. In 1978, I was honoured to be the first doctor awarded the Sir Andrew Humphrey Memorial Award* for helping to save the life at the roadside of a young girl injured in a motorcycle accident.