By NZ Gastro Office | Posted: Sunday July 10, 2022
Congratulations to Nurse Margaret Fraser for services to hepatology and Dr Gordon Ian Nicholson for services to health and the community
NZSG is pleased to hear that two members of our extended Gastroenterology whānau have received Queen's Birthday honours:
Dr Gordon Ian Nicholson
For services to health and the community
Dr Gordon Nicholson was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to health, the refugee community and the environment for over 60 years.
As a Gastroenterologist Specialist the Auckland Hospital since 1965 he assisted in establishing the first alcohol and drug ward in providing medical treatment to those impacted. In 1966 Dr Nicholson attended the inaugural meeting of NZSG and is an honorary member. Dr Nicholson has mentored and taught students and junior doctors through Auckland Hospital and the Medical School. The initiator and a founding member of ‘Medical Aid Abroad’ in 1968 he chaired the Auckland branch until 1990 and has been a Life Member in 1970. He has also established the mental health programme Doctors for Doctors. Dr Nicholson volunteers with Bridgebuilders Trust, supporting refugees in association with Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland since 2000 and has worked with New Settlers Family and Community Trust since 2002. His involvement in environmental organisations includes the Ornithological Society and Royal Forest and Bird Society, as well as community gardens.
For services to hepatology
In the Otago Daily Times Mrs Fraser's response to the news was "Totally surprised and totally humbled" for being recognised for her work in hepatology becoming a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Mrs Margaret Fraser has been a Registered Nurse and Clinical Nurse Specialist in Hepatology with the Southern District Health Board since 1996 becoming a clinical nurse specialist, and seeing public attitudes to the liver diseases she treats — specifically hepatitis — mature and change.
Mrs Fraser assisted patients through a change in treatment of viral hepatitis infection from a year-long treatment plan with limited success and high chances of complications and side-effects to a three-month treatment plan with a near 100 percent success rate in curing the infection.
Patients of hepatitis infection are often stigmatized due to the main route of infection being through intravenous drug use, tattooing and piercing. Mrs Fraser has supported patients beyond the administration of treatment. With only a small number of people coming forward for treatment to avoid contact with authorities, she set up the first clinic at the Otago Corrections Facilities to diagnose and treat patients with hepatitis C and other hepatological illnesses. Mrs Fraser was an instrumental team member in organising three hui in Dunedin, Lower Hutt and Tauranga with members of the Mongrel Mob to facilitate testing and education of members and their families.
The clinical nurse specialist representative of the South Island Alliance Hepatitis C working group since 2016, Mrs Fraser is also involved in ongoing efforts to stamp out hepatitis in Niue.