52:46 | News and current affairs
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Insight

Joint Operation  |  Season 1  |  Episode 14  |  SBS

Joint Operation How do you know when surgery is the best option and who makes the call? By age 31, Rhys Donnan had undergone 11 operations on his knees. He started having problems with his knees as a junior footballer at 13, and had his first operation at 18. From there, he underwent many more procedures – and revisions of those procedures – at one point having operations every 18 months. “To be honest, I’ve become fairly blasé about [surgery] in the end,” he tells Jenny Brockie on this week’s episode of Insight. “I’d had so many … it just seemed the natural course of action.” About a million orthopaedic surgeries are done each year in Australia. Many of these are joint replacements or spinal surgeries to treat osteoarthritis. Hip and knee replacements alone cost the health system more than any other hospital procedure – over $2 billion a year. And some of these surgeries are on the rise. A Victorian study found that between 1994 to 2014, the number of hip replacements done went up 175 per cent, while knee replacements went up 285 per cent. But the evidence for many commonly performed operations is far from clear cut. Research suggests that about half of orthopaedic procedures have no scientific evidence to prove they work better than non-surgical treatments, and another quarter are no more effective than alternatives such as physiotherapy, exercise and weight loss. Orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Ian Harris, says that some operations, such as spinal fusions, are more controversial. “The best evidence we have is that it is not better than a structured non-operative alternative, such as physiotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy,” he says. After suffering debilitating back pain for several years, Simone Smith felt surgery was her only option. “I had done everything, imaging, traction, physios, chiros, osteos … I can remember having to sit in the bottom of the shower because I couldn’t stand,” she tells Jenny. She says her surgery worked well, and helped ease her pain. Jessica King also underwent spinal surgery. She says she wasn’t given any other options after hurting her lower back while pregnant. “I feel like it was probably the most drastic sort of step, and I went there too soon,” she says. Jess still has ongoing nerve pain and numbness.

52:06 | News and current affairs
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Insight

Joey Banks High  |  Season 1  |  Episode 13  |  SBS

Teaching Success Six years ago, when Junior arrived at Sir Joseph Banks High School as a year 7 student, the school didn’t have a great reputation in the community. “[A] lot of bus drivers wouldn't stop for us because they know how rowdy our school could have been in the bus,” he tells Insight’s Jenny Brockie. The same year Junior arrived, only 30 per cent of year 12 students on an ATAR pathway went to university. But for the last two years, that number has risen to 100 per cent. Kids say they are now being enrolled because Sir Joseph Banks is “the best school in the area.” Ninety-two per cent of students at the school, located in Sydney’s south-west, come from a non-English speaking background and 61 per cent of students fall in the most disadvantaged quarter of all Australian students. Given the makeup of the school, principal Murray Kitteringham admits the school is well-funded under the current Gonski model. This has allowed the school to hire a number of teachers and support staff to target the individualised needs of students in areas of both wellbeing and education. For many students at Sir Joseph Banks, school is like a second home and the principal, Murray Kitteringham, says the belief that “happy kids learn” is central to the school’s focus. Junior agrees. “[The teachers] don't just care about your marks, they care about your wellbeing and ultimately that care about your wellbeing will help improve your marks and help get you to that end role,” he says. Marouf is School Captain and has been dux of his year every year since year 8. He is aiming to study medicine next year and like many students at the school, he’ll be the first one in his family to go to university. “I'd like to break that mould kind of for my sisters, let them know that it is possible if they want to go down that path,” he tells Insight. “[We] might not have that head start that some people may have … but I guess that's what motivates me personally to just continue going when I don't want to or don't feel like it.” In this episode of Insight, students and teachers of Sir Joseph Banks High share stories of strength and reveal what it took to turn their school around.

54:22 | News and current affairs
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Insight

Open Relationships  |  Season 1  |  Episode 12  |  SBS

Open Relationships Wye is a Doctor who has been living with her partner Dave for five years. Dave is not Wye’s only partner – she also sees a man called Andrew. Dave has a girlfriend called Chrissy. When Wye first met Dave she struggled with the idea of having an open relationship and did years of therapy to come to terms with what Dave wanted. In the beginning, Wye and Dave set ground rules including never sleeping with someone else in their bed. Andrew is only in a relationship with Wye and admits to sometimes feeling left out. Lynn and Jim have been married for 13 years and have been together for 20. They also have five children. They have been seeing other people since the beginning of their relationship. At first it was just sex but it then evolved into having emotional connections with other people. Jim says he was born to live a polyamorous lifestyle and was the one to first suggest having an open marriage. Lynn admits she sometimes gets jealous but Jim says it’s rare for him to have those feelings. They’ve told all their children about their open marriage. Jess and Lawrence have been together for five years. When they started dating, Lawrence asked Jess if she’d do swinging and she agreed. Their rule is to do everything together and that their open relationship only involves sex with other people and not emotional connections. Lawrence says he doesn’t get jealous but Jess sometimes does. They talk almost every day about their feelings and their open relationship. Robin Rinaldi had been married for 18 years when she decided she wanted to try having an open relationship. She moved into a separate apartment during the week and slept with 12 people over one year. Her and her husband established rules including only seeing someone three times so that they wouldn’t fall in love. After a year, Robin went back to being monogamous with her husband but the marriage ended after someone who she’d slept with got back in touch with her. She’s now in a monogamous relationship with that man and says open relationships aren’t for her. Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist who has studied the chemistry of love. She thinks we’re built to form a pair bonding and that people in open relationships have to conquer and fight profoundly basic instincts. She says the reason they talk so much about their feelings is because they are trying to over-ride the brain system for romantic love and deep attachment.

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