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21 October 2019

Institute news

Dr Liz ParatzMeet Dr Liz Paratz, a sports cardiologist at the Baker Institute and part of the team working on Australia’s first sudden cardiac death registry.

Liz is a cardiologist undertaking her PhD on sudden cardiac death. Her PhD will draw on research from the creation of Australia’s first sudden cardiac death registry, recruiting all cases of unexplained cardiac death aged under 50 years old.

Tell us about your current projects?
The Sports Cardiology laboratory has designed a sudden cardiac death registry that will capture all cases of out of hospital cardiac arrest in Victorians aged 1–50. It aims to standardise care while optimising genetic and forensic testing and family screening and support. We hope to roll it out nationally over the next few years. I have seen first-hand that when a young person dies and the cause is either unexplained or unexpected it is really devastating. Families lack closure and may carry unnecessary guilt, and are worried that other family members might be at risk too. We hope that we can work towards answering the questions of ‘why’ and ‘who else is at risk’ more comprehensively for these families.

What motivates you and inspires you?
Two of my grandparents were accepted into medical school, but had to withdraw — my grandfather when his father died and he had to run the family fruit and vegetable stall to support the family financially, and my grandmother when she got married and was strongly encouraged to focus on domestic duties. I therefore have subsequently managed to ‘Steven Bradbury’ into the position of first doctor in the family. I recognise how lucky I am to have had maximal opportunities and minimal limitations in pursuing my medical career.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Career-wise hopefully having completed my PhD and undertaking post-doctoral work and fellowship in imaging and heart failure. Life-wise, my husband and I are head over heels in love with our beautiful funny little eighteen-month girl Esther and I can’t wait to see her personality continue to develop.

What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
My family name Paratz is the misspelt result of an Australian customs official who disappointingly couldn’t read the Russian alphabet. My family just wanted to get into Australia and did not mind being issued with a new name. It continues to be spelt by everyone in four thousand different ways, and most commonly autocorrects to Parrots.

What is your favourite place in the world and why?
I did around 9 months in Warrnambool as a medical registrar and still think it is the most naturally beautiful place in the world I have ever seen. Eating our lunch most days on the cliffs at Thunder Point while still being in pager range of the hospital was a fabulous experience.


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