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Dr Stephen Child - General Physician/Respiratory Interest

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I offer a specialist consultation practice in the fields of General Medicine and Respiratory Medicine (see below) .  I primarily focus on making a specific diagnosis and then try to work with the general practitioner for the ongoing care.  Often patients only have one or two visits with me but occasionally I will continue the ongoing care of some complex illnesses.
I also offer assessments for immigration, war pensions, ACC and other insurance issues when required.
I am passionate about education - both for the patient and doctors (see biography) . I hope to offer a "holistic" diagnostic service that works with the patient in their return to good health.
What is General Medicine?
General Medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases affecting the internal organs of the body in adults.
Specialists in this field are called specialist general physicians. They are doctors who have trained in various specialties such as diseases of the heart, lungs, brain and other organs. Often people have more than one part of the body involved in an illness or the exact cause of symptoms is not clear.  The General Physician is an expert in diagnosing what is wrong and managing illnesses that are complex.
What is Respiratory Medicine?
Respiratory medicine is the branch of medicine that treats people with diseases affecting the lungs and breathing.
The role of our lungs is to deliver oxygen into our bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide. When you breathe in, air passes through the throat into the windpipe (trachea). The base of the windpipe divides into the right and left tubes (bronchi) which divide again and again each time getting smaller and smaller until the smallest airways called the alveoli are reached. The alveoli act like balloons i.e. when you breathe in they inflate and when you breathe out they relax.
Oxygen moves across the walls of the alveoli and enters the bloodstream and is carried to the rest of the body after passing through the heart. Carbon dioxide is passed from the blood into the alveoli and is breathed out of the lungs.

Common symptoms or signs of lung disease include: shortness of breath, wheezing, long-term cough, coughing up blood, and having chest pains.


Referral Expectations

It would be best if you could please bring any letters or reports from your doctor (or another hospital) as I often try to summarise all investigations that you have had to date to try and get an entire picture of your health condition. It is fine, however, if you are unable to obtain this information initially.

Common Conditions / Procedures / Treatments

  • Diagnostic Dilemmas

    General Physicians specialise in the diagnosis of difficult conditions. Many of my referrals include patients with symptoms of chronic fatigue, night sweats, generalised aches, etc. More

  • Chronic Cough

    Often patients will develop a chronic cough that persists for more than 12 weeks without a diagnosis being made.… More

  • Shortness of Breath

    Causes of shortness of breath are multitude but can centre around heart, lung or blood problems that require careful review. More

  • Asthma

    Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest and trouble breathing.… More

  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

    This term is used to describe lung disease where the breathing tubes become blocked and the surrounding tissue and air sacs inside the lungs become damaged.… More

  • Immigration Assessments

    Abnormal chest x-rays or diabetes often cause concern for immigration to New Zealand.  I offer a referral service to review patients with these issues and attempt to expedite their entry to this country where possible. More

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

    General Physicians can offer assistance with both the causes of high blood pressure and those that are difficult to control. More

  • Chronic Fatigue States

    Many conditions present with symptoms of fatigue.  Often these can be due to infection, inflammation, allergy, hormone problems or rarely a cancer.  In most patients, the medical profession doesn't make any specific diagnosis but it is very important to ensure that you have had a thorough assessment before this conclusion… More

  • Chest Pain

    70% of chest pain remains essentially undiagnosed by the medical profession.  In my hospital practice, I review close to 10 patients per week presenting with chest pain and have become quite familiar with this vexing problem. More

  • Arthritis/Myalgia

    Patients commonly present with symptoms of "aches and pains" without a clear cause.  While polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and fibromyalgia are common causes, many other more rare conditions can cause these symptoms and they require careful review. More

  • War Pensions Assessments

    I have been reviewing veterans for potential war pension disability for over 5 years and really enjoy this aspect of my practice.  Where possible, please try to bring any additional information from doctors' visits or hospital admissions to the consultation. More

  • Sleep Apnoea

    Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is present in 4-8% of the population and presents with a wide range of symptoms. More

  • Lung Cancer

    This is when abnormal (malignant) cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled fashion in the lung tissue.… More

  • Night Sweats

    Causes of night sweats are multiple and very similar to that for chronic fatigue.  Please see this condition for common causes and investigations. More

  • Insurance/ACC Assessments

    I am a reviewer for ACC Treatment Injury claims and can do other assessments for ACC.  I usually require a specific referral directly from ACC but will review special cases on an individual case by case basis. More

  • Lung Function Tests

    You may be advised to take lung function tests to find out how much air moves in and out as you breathe.… More

  • Bronchoscopy

    During this test a thin fibreoptic tube is inserted into your breathing tubes, through the nose, to view the tubes and take a biopsy (remove cells or tissue) to see if there are cancer cells present.… More

  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scans

    With CT you can see much more detail than with a normal X-ray.… More

  • Chest X-ray

    A chest X-ray is normally undertaken to evaluate the chest wall, lungs and heart.… More

  • Fine Needle Aspirate

    Depending on what is seen on the CT scan an additional test can be done where a fine needle is inserted into your chest into the cancer and some cells sucked up into the needle.… More


A 75-minute new patient appointment is $410 .

A 30-minute follow-up appointment is $200.

Bedside spirometry may incur an additional charge of $40.

However, (to the chagrin of my accountant), charges are often reduced or modified to meet individual circumstances so please talk to me if there are particular concerns. 

War Pension assessments are obviously free to the patient and I am happy to reduce my charges for immigration assessment where applicable.

I am a Southern Cross Affiliated Provider.

Document Downloads


Freely available at Papakura rooms but can be a nuisance at Mercy Clinic.  The best suggestion would be to use the 180 min parking spaces at Mercy and notify me if time is a constraint.

Contact Details

Please contact the practice location directly for referrals or my Hospital secretary can be contacted on 367 0000 ext 25546. In addition, I am happy to be contacted directly by GPs to discuss patients at any time via mobile.

Mercy Hospital
100 Mountain Road
Gate 3
Epsom 1023
Bldg Entrance D

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Street Address

Mercy Hospital
100 Mountain Road
Gate 3
Epsom 1023
Bldg Entrance D

Postal Address

100 Mountain Road
Epsom 1023
Entrance D

This page was last updated at 3:35PM on December 7, 2017. This information is reviewed and edited by Dr Stephen Child - General Physician/Respiratory Interest.