McNamara, John

  • (1937 – 2018)

    By Henry Ekert

    John and I first met at RCH in 1965 when he was the first resident with a MRACP following a distinguished student and resident career at St. Vincent hospital. It was obvious even then that he was a man of many talents not only in medicine but also in classics, literature and in addition a good sportsman. He and Mary and Barbara and I became firm friends. In 1966 John and I shared the Uncle Bob scholarship and in 1967 we departed for further training overseas, he in Newcastle on Tyne and later at GOS and I in Los Angeles at the CHLA.

    The paediatricians in Newcastle soon realised what a gem they had snared from the Antipodes and likewise those at GOS who quickly promoted John to senior resident at GOS. He made many friends in  Newcastle and London including a distinguished Professor David Hull and Haematologist Dr. Peter Jones who remained lifelong friends.

    After our return from the USA we met again at GOS and shared happy times together before we returned to Melbourne, John and Mary some months before us.

    John soon established a thriving private practice as well as appointments at RCH, St. Vincent Hospital and Mercy Maternity. His excellence in general paediatrics including neonatology was widely recognized and highly respected in the Colleges of Medicine and Paediatrics. He contributed greatly to graduate and student teaching and was for many years an examiner for the College. His outstanding achievements in Paediatrics were recognised in award of the Gold Medal by RCH. He was widely admired and liked by all his colleagues who could depend on him for wise counsel. He was kind to every one of his fellow workers and even more considerate and dedicated to his patients and their families. His witty observations of the world around him were a joy for his friends

    Eventually John was seduced to practice only at RCH and was appointed as Divisional Director of general paediatrics and chief of general paediatrics. He was sent the most difficult clinical problems and as always dealt with them in a compassionate and clinically appropriate manner. At a time when skill in taking a history and doing a thorough clinical examination were prerequisites to diagnosis and management he had no peers His dedication to his patients and RCH were and should remain legendary.

    John, Mary and Barbara and I remained good friends from the time we first met. We shared many happy occasions and a few holidays in the outback. We will miss him.