Title: Against all odds – The story of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue

Dr Craig Challen SC OAM

Meeting:  2023 RANZCO


Date: 21 Oct 2023


Session Time: 8:05 am - 8:30 am

Synopsis: Adventurer, cave diver, veterinary surgeon, businessman and pilot Dr Craig Challen shares his experience as a participant in the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue, providing an inside account of the extraordinary events that unfolded, focusing on the theme of leadership in a challenging environment.
Craig delves into the crucial role of leadership during the Thai cave rescue, highlighting the vital lessons that can be applied to a variety of contexts, including the medical field. Drawing from his experiences, he emphasises the significance of effective communication, fostering trust within teams and making tough decisions under extreme pressure. Craig underscores the importance of adaptability, resilience, and maintaining a calm and composed demeanour in demanding circumstances.
The challenges encountered during the cave rescue will be connected to those faced by medical professionals by exploring the critical decision-making processes involved in both scenarios, emphasising the need for thorough evaluation, quick thinking and the ability to mitigate risks effectively. Craig shares valuable insights on maintaining focus, managing stress and making calculated choices when lives hang in the balance.
The story of the Tham Luang rescue highlights the universal nature of leadership skills and risk assessment strategies, contributing to a deeper understanding by attendees of the complexities inherent in their daily work and inspiring them to apply the lessons to their own professional challenges. The captivating narrative and practical takeaways make this talk a powerful source of inspiration and guidance for professionals seeking to enhance their leadership capabilities and risk assessment skills, particularly surgeons who face high-stakes situations and engage in risk management during complex procedures.