Saturday, March 13, 2021


In my previous post, we covered the Lord's faithfulness that was evident in Dr. Andrew Stenhouse's Medical Studies. Now in this segment, we'll cover the residency that he did after returning from his special assignment to Roratonga in the Cook Islands.


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Len: Welcome to A Willing Heart to Please the Father. This is Len Lacroix, and I'm here tonight with my guest, Dr. Andrew Stenhouse. And we are here for another chapter of his life. And, Andrew, I want to welcome you back to the program.

Dr. Stenhouse: Thank you, Len, I appreciate it. And I enjoy these sessions, because they, I hope, glorify the Lord and don't in any way glorify me, because without the Lord I would have been down a hole.

Len: Yes. Well they have. And I think it's going to bless a lot of people.

And we finished the last chapter talking about your medical studies and your return from Rarotonga to Hamilton, which is on the North Island of New Zealand. 

And, tonight, we're going to pick it up right there, where we ended the last one, and we're going to talk about your residency. So this would be when you moved from Hamilton to--take it from there, where you moved to for your second year. 

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, I'd like to first make a few clarifications. 

After a person graduates from medical school, you get a cap and a gown, and you go through a formal session of being capped as a doctor-- an M.D.

And so, the first two years after that are called a “doctor’s residency”. We are doctors, but we are in a resident for two years--the first two years after graduation. And then, the third and fourth years after graduation, we are in a registrar position, which is a supervisory plus medical treatments assessment, where we take care, not only of patients, but we supervise the residents who are on the team that we are working with.

Len: Right.

Dr. Stenhouse: So I hope that that may clarify, because it is difficult to understand.

Len: Yeah, so thank you for clarifying that. So, when we talk about your residency, at this point, you had actually already done your first year of residency in Hamilton, after you finished that several months in Rarotonga, where you did a special assignment. Now you were moving to where, for your second-year residency?

[Correction: Dr. Stenhouse completed his fifth year of medical studies in Hamilton after returning from his research in Raratonga, then he completed his sixth year of medical studies in Christchurch, NZ, followed by his first house surgeon's year back in Hamilton, NZ, and his second house surgeon's year in Murupura, NZ.] 

Dr. Stenhouse: To Murupara. 

Len: Okay.

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, in the second-year residency, I felt called, because they didn't have a doctor associated with it; they have a medical hospital there strictly for obstetrics. 

I needed to go there--I felt the Lord was calling me there to help them out, with regard to having a doctor and, at the same time, fulfilling my second year as a resident.

Len: So was this like you had a choice, where you could have taken the assignment or chosen not to go to Murupara? 

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, I had a choice whether to stay in Hamilton or to go to Murupara…

Len: Okay. So you accepted that. 

Dr. Stenhouse: …for the second year of being a resident.

Len: Okay.

Dr. Stenhouse: And there was one of us that went, and that was me. And so, anyway, it was a very interesting year. And a lot of things occurred during that year that were very interesting. 

For example, I was the dentist in the area, as well. Although I’d never taken a tooth out, I had to take care of bad teeth. And they did, indeed, in spite of my not knowing it, have one set of pliers for extracting teeth. Because that’s what they are—they’re sort of super pliers. But this one was found in the doctor's office there and apparently came from Germany; it was left there by a German missionary. And so I was glad to have that!

Len: Yeah! What era were they from?

Dr. Stenhouse: They were from the late 1800s—this one pair of pliers.

Len: Wow! One old pair of pliers, from a missionary, from way back in the 1800s. 

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes.

Len: And you were using that to pull teeth out. Now that wasn’t even something that was part of your medical training; so you kind of got thrown into that, right?

Dr. Stenhouse: I had never taken a tooth out, except my own. No. That was one of the things that was interesting.

The other thing was being by myself, delivering babies--the nearest obstetrical hospital is fifty-five miles away. 

And most of the patients were Maoris, because they were the group of people that lived out in the bush in Murupara.

Len: Okay. I see.

Dr. Stenhouse: And I always had people in the delivery room that I had never seen before, come in, ready to deliver. So this could happen day or night.

Len: Wow! Think about that! That's pretty serious, because, normally, a doctor would have been seeing an obstetrics patient during her pregnancy, but these people would just show up when they're ready to deliver. So you had no history on them; you don't know anything about the risk factors involved or anything like that, or even the patient. They're just presenting to you—they need you to deliver their baby.

Dr. Stenhouse: That's correct, yes.

Len: Were they coming from places that were farther away, or mainly right there?

Dr. Stenhouse: They were from the area. It was called a bush area in medical terminology; and they were really from within, say, twenty miles of the hospital. 

Len: Okay.

Dr. Stenhouse: So anyway—thank you, Lord, for taking care of me during that time, because he was the one that did all of the work. I listened, and I did what I heard to do. And one of the easiest ways I found to get a tooth out that’s bad is to find the thinnest side of the bone and to make a little crack, or fracture, in that inside part of the jaw; and the tooth falls out when you try and help it. Otherwise, you're in quite a mess. 

Len: Yeah.

Dr. Stenhouse: So, the Lord showed me to do that.

Len: Wow! But with the pregnancies—with the deliveries—did you have much training in that type of thing? Because you weren’t an obstetrician—or an OBGYN. So did you really have very much training in delivering babies?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, we all had to do about ten to twelve deliveries on our own—supervised, of course; and we did that as part of our training. But if there had been any complications that were severe, I would not have seen them before, you know. 

Len: Did you have any that got complicated?

Dr. Stenhouse: Oh, yes. I had some complicated patients. But the Lord showed me what to do and guided me; and we got through everything. I didn't lose any babies. 

Len: Wow! Praise God!

Dr. Stenhouse: And the mothers were pleased. And I gave them lots of anesthetic, as I did with the dentist part—gave them lots of anesthetic. They called me the painless doctor. So, anyway, I gave the ladies the local anesthetic, and we got every baby out healthy.

Len: Wow!

Dr. Stenhouse: And I’ll give you a story about one of the babies that came out—a beautiful child—and the mother started to cry.  And I said, “What's wrong, dear?” 

And she said, “Oh, he's done it again!” 

And I said, “What did he do again?”

And she said, “He's given my baby away.”

Len: What?!

Dr. Stenhouse: And the husband would be betting on his child. 

Len: Oh, no.

Dr. Stenhouse: Because the hospitals and government gave them about seven dollars or ten dollars a month for every child they have. And he was using the future child's money for betting. 

Len: Wow! 

Dr. Stenhouse: So, she was crying because of that—I mean, he cried because of it, too. But I didn’t say anything to him because they were bigger than me.

Len: Yeah. So when you did these deliveries, did they have at least a nurse there to assist you?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, they had a nurse, a nurse who specialized in it. And they were very helpful, and they knew what to do. I’d tell them what the next thing to do was, and they would do it. And they were very helpful.

Len: Yeah. So, you did these deliveries, and by the grace of God you didn't lose a single baby. That's amazing! 

Dr. Stenhouse: No, no.

Len: Did you ever have a patient name the child after you?

Dr. Stenhouse: Oh yes! They would say, “Doctor, can we call this patient 'Andrew'?” 

And I would say, “Because you asked, you can.” 

Len: So now, if you go back to Murupara, there’s probably these babies from that era, a bunch of Andrews living around there.

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, there will be a bunch of Andrews running around over there.

Len: So, any other experiences that you want to tell us about in Murupara?

Dr. Stenhouse: Not really. It was a most exciting time for me because I also had to do surgical work—sewing up everything.  And then, I was also the doctor for another little town called Kaingaroa and would have a practice there. Every week I’d have to go up. And the only other interesting thing was that great lorries filled with trees would follow me down the road and try and run me off the road at night when I’d go home. 

Len: Wow! 

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, they would follow me at great speeds down the road. 

Len: Wow! These big trucks carrying trees—like logging trucks, right?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, logging trucks. And I’d ask the Lord, “Lord, you got me here. Get me out of this.”

Len: Now, how did you get to that other location that you had to go to once a week? Did you use public transportation, or did you have a vehicle?

Dr. Stenhouse: No, I had a car. 

Len: Okay.

Dr. Stenhouse: I would drive my car up there and drive back. 

Len: So, when you finished your time there—your residency in Murupara, out in the bush—then, where did you return to afterwards?

Dr. Stenhouse: After Murupara in the bush, was my second year of residency. And the next thing we had was first year of registrar. In addition to two years of residency, after you graduate from medical school, you have two years of residency, and then two years as a registrar.

[NOTE: He completed both registrar years in Dunedin, NZ. The first year he worked for the Professor of Medicine, and the second year was for the Dean of the Medical School.]

Len: Okay.

Dr. Stenhouse: And I was about to start my registrar period of time.

Len: Okay. Where did you go for that?

Dr. Stenhouse: I went back to Dunedin. 

Len: Okay.

Dr. Stenhouse: I got called back there—asked if I would come there, and I said, “Yes, I'd love to come back to Dunedin." So, that's sort of another chapter in my life—the beginning of the registrar period of time.

Len: Yeah. So, the place you went to in Dunedin was a hospital that was a teaching hospital. Correct?

Dr. Stenhouse: Correct. Yes.

Len: What position did you get assigned to there?

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, it was really interesting. I applied for a position in the Department of Medicine, and also that came with the position as a registrar at the hospital. And the Lord arranged things. 

It's really funny, Len, when you be obedient, the Lord arranges everything; and if you don't struggle over everything, Father takes care of everything and takes care of you. 

But what happened was that I applied for a position as a registrar. And usually in the first year you were a junior registrar, and in the second year, you were a senior registrar. But when I got down there, they had positioned me as the senior registrar doing the second year work for the professor of medicine, who was also a doctor at the hospital.

Len: He was the chief professor of medicine, right?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes.

Len: In New Zealand?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes.

Len: So that was quite amazing there. You skipped over being a junior registrar and went right, straight to being a senior registrar. That was unusual. But I think that when you stand back and look at it, you know, the Bible says, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up in due time.” And you took that humble position out in the bush, which was not typical for someone to do that, and God gave you this senior registrar position. 

And also there's another verse in Psalm 75 that says, “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man, but it is God who judges.”

Dr. Stenhouse: That’s right.

Len: “He brings one down; he exalts another.” So he gave you this position that you weren't really even seeking after, right—the senior registrar position. 

Dr. Stenhouse: No, it surprised me.

Len: So, was there any push-back from anybody there about you getting that position?

Dr. Stenhouse: Oh, yes. There was a lot of talk about my getting the position that people had been waiting for two or three years to get this position. And they were very upset with me. And in their own way they tried to take it out of me; but it didn't bother me much, because I knew it wasn't me that did it, but the Lord did it for me.

Len: What kinds of things did they do to kind of try to get you?

 Dr. Stenhouse: Well, what they would do is they would call in sick--when they weren’t sick--when they were on call. And so this was the main thing, where they would increase my load of work by calling in sick that day.

Or a lady doctor had rheumatoid arthritis, and she'd always get a flare up, she said, when she was on-call. So she could never be on-call. 

Len: Wow!

Dr. Stenhouse: There were lots of instances like that.

Len: Yeah.

Dr. Stenhouse: But, you know, you just take them, and the Lord goes before you. And you just smile and go on.

Len: Now, tell me, just briefly, a little bit about the role of a registrar; and then after that, tell me the role of a senior registrar, because most of us lay people are not really familiar with this term, except maybe in an academic institution. But in a medical hospital—teaching hospital—what role does a registrar play?

Dr. Stenhouse: A registrar is above both of the residents. And so, first of all, he takes care of the residents and makes sure that what they do is appropriate. And then the junior registrar is being checked by the senior registrar and has to go over all of the work that he has done on the admissions that were admitted. 

And then, in addition to that, the senior registrar is in charge of all of the doctors that send patients to the emergency room. So you have to go and check all of the patients in the emergency room to make sure that they are appropriate admissions and make sure that the medicines they were given were correct and the treatments and so on. 

Len: Right.

Dr. Stenhouse: And in addition to that, in the teaching hospital, the senior registrar was responsible for teaching not only the residents, which are the junior doctors, but also the medical students, when it’s a teaching hospital.

So the work was quite exhausting, in a way, because I would work many times through the night and then have to just keep going the next day.

Len: Wow! So a registrar—they have to practice medicine on their floor—

Dr. Stenhouse: Yeah.

Len: —in their department. Plus, in addition to seeing patients, they're also overseeing junior doctors--the residents on their floor. 

So, for example, when a resident goes to see a patient that has been admitted onto the floor, the registrar follows up, right, to go and see that patient? And then they talk with the resident to see what his plan is for caring for that patient?

Dr. Stenhouse: That's correct, Len. And then in a teaching hospital, when you’ve got over you a professor, you teach the doctors coming in—both the residents and the junior registrars. So I was responsible for teaching people that actually had been doctors longer than myself.

Len: Ok. So these registrars—you would have one on each floor, right? 

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, at least one.

Len: Yeah, at least one per floor—they were overseeing the residents on their floor. and then you, as the senior registrar, had your responsibilities with patients, plus the emergency room; and you also had your oversight, as a supervisory role over the other registrars.

Dr. Stenhouse: Right. And then I had to do the majority of the teaching to the students.

Len: Ok. Very interesting. Well, that was a lot of responsibility that you were given; and you skipped over some things that other people had to go through. But, you can definitely see the Lord's hand in that. And, despite the fact that people were jealous and tried to get that from you, what ended up happening? I mean, with the chief professor, did he just change his mind after all the push-back he got from other doctors?

Dr. Stenhouse: No. No, they never changed their mind, and they were very grateful for what I did.

Len: Yeah, that's wonderful! 

Now, what influenced the chief professor’s decision when you came in from Hamilton to Dunedin—actually, you didn't come from Hamilton; you came from Murupara, but you had previously been in Hamilton. And when you came to do Dunedin, what was it that influenced?—basically your past reputation with the other doctors in Hamilton?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, that was the reason that I got the position. Unbeknownst to me, the chief of the hospital, who was different from the chief of medicine, had called the chief doctor at Hamilton and found out about me and was told, “Don’t put anyone else but Stenhouse in that position.”

Len: Wow! Praise God! Well, the Lord is good. And that's a wonderful testimony about the faithfulness of God again, and your willingness to serve him in the bush, you know, which is all part of the theme of A Willing Heart to Please the Father.

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes.

Len: So, Andrew, I want to thank you very much for being with us tonight and sharing your life experiences with us back there during your residency. And thank you very much. And we're going to close this out and finish our chapter for tonight. And I look forward to our next talk together.

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, I look forward to it, too, but I just wanted to make sure that everybody listening realized that it wasn’t Andrew that was doing all this; it was my Heavenly Father.

Len: Absolutely. Thank you.

Dr. Stenhouse: And all I had to do was be obedient to Him...

Len: That's right.

Dr. Stenhouse: every instance.

Len: That's right! Well thank you, Andrew; and God bless you.

Dr. Stenhouse: Thank you, Len.

Len: Have a good night.

Dr. Stenhouse:  You too; good night.

Len: Good night.

Author's note: The next chapter in this series is Post Graduate Experiences of God's Faithfulness. See the Home page of this blog for more podcasts on the life of Dr. Stenhouse. You may access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master. Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"


Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. 

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