About Dr James Wright
Dr James Wright, probably Australia's best known "media medic", is often called "The Merry Medic" Why? Because he dispenses medical advice and health tips in simple everyday language anybody can understand.
"If it's too complicated, a person simply tunes out," he says. "KISS – keep it simple stupid." He believes many cannot understand or recall what their doctor says. Many forget the advice before they leave the surgery, so simply take the pills and hope for the best. "Write down a list of your complaints to ask the doctor, and write down the answers whilst there, or maybe take a friend to help." Your GP is your best bet, Dr Wright recommends
Brisbane born, Dr Wright (whose true name is Dr John Franklin Knight) won a University Exhibition and Commonwealth Scholarship and graduated from Sydney University. He quickly became involved in media medicine, for writing is his passion.
He has had something published or broadcast every day for the past forty years, both in Australia and overseas.
Questions and Answers
It started with newspaper stories, then his famous "Q and A" series which still continues. This covered a massive range of everyday health issues, with simple, often low cost remedies, or lifestyle modifications.
He wrote the "weight loss diets" for "Womans Day" for many years, which led to the "Mike Walsh Show". This Australia wide television series, under various names lasted for 25 years, and Dr Wright remained the resident doctor throughout. He still does occasional cameo bits, but believes the governments PBS awareness commercials which he anchored, were his best achievement.
He pioneered "cutting edge" stuff like filming surgical procedures, such as caesarean sections, gastric banding, heart operations, hair transplants, breast implants, laparoscopic surgery and the advent of CT imaging - all common today but totally unheard of at the time. It made the AMA, government bodies and health departments definitely uneasy. How dare this be on public viewing! They made life hard for him.
He ran his own radio show in Sydney for nearly twenty years, largely talk back based. "Main reason for the call was the patient had not understood the doctor, or simply wanted reassurance or an ear for someone lonely or depressed," he says.
In addition, Macquarie radio syndication asked for a short daily "health tip". This continues today on nearly 100 radio stations around Australia, and Sydney's No 1 station 2GB. This year number 7,000 went to air. He is a vegetarian by choice, does not smoke or drink for health reasons, and exercises daily, like his Mum who lived to 100, his Dad 90.
This inevitably led to requests for books. An astute Melbourne company saw the rising wave of free love "glossies" invading the market some years ago, so decided they would counter this with "a high moral ground" book. Big risk! Firstly, one for girls, then one for boys, children, couples and finally a 5-volume "Family Medical Care" for the entire family. Many parents were glad to let their kids read the "factual facts" in simple, non-sleaze words at home. It saved them a bundle of "trying to explain what happens!"
These took off dramatically, with re-writes and revisions, translations, braille and discs (for the sight impaired) around the world. They are constantly being updated. They are unavailable in shops. They are published by Signs Publishing Company who have been printing educational books for over 100 years. All author royalties go to his next passion, Medi Aid.
Contact sources: "Home Health Education Service"
Phone: 1800 643 346
Postal: PO Box 201, Warburton VIC 3799
Medi Aid Centre Foundation
Medi Aid Centre Foundation was established by Dr Knight and his wife Noreen (herself a Registered Nurse) in 1973 to provide accommodation for the elderly, with an emphasis on those with financial, health, disability or other negative issues. See Vimiera Village page for more details, or log onto www.vimieravillage.com.au.
In 1998 Dr Knight was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) by the Governor for his media outreach and the work of the Foundation. In 2003, he was one of the three finalists in the "Australian of the Year" Awards.