Lives of the fellows

Basil Oswald Quin

b.28 February 1908 d.12 August 1998
MB ChB NZ(1933) MRCP(1937) DCH(1938) MRACP(1941) FRACP(1946) FRCP(1963)

Basil Quin was an important medical figure who played a significant part in hospital affairs in Auckland, New Zealand, and in many ways epitomized the ideal general physician of his day.

He was born in Hamilton in the Waikato district of New Zealand, and grew up on the family farm outside the nearby town of Te Awamutu. He retained a life-long love of the country. He began his schooling at the local primary school and went on to the district high school for a year before becoming a boarder at Sacred Heart College in Auckland. He returned to the school in 1939, becoming the school doctor for a number of years. In 1973 he was honoured for his long service to the school and to the Marist Brothers by being appointed an affiliate member of the Marist Brothers Congregation.

In 1926 he entered the University of Otago to study medicine, graduating in 1933. He was then a junior resident medical officer at the Auckland Hospital. After several country general practice locum posts he decided to go to the UK for further training and experience. As was then customary he worked his passage as ship’s doctor. He trained and gained experience in several London hospitals, including the Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital, Battersea General Hospital, the Princess Elizabeth of York Hospital for Children, St James’ Hospital and Hackney Hospital and also attended teaching courses at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases.

On his return to Auckland in 1939 Basil Quin was appointed to the staff of the Auckland, Mater Misericordiae (now Mercy) and Karitane Hospitals as a physician and he commenced private practice as a consulting physician. The Auckland Karitane Hospital was one of five hospitals run by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children for the treatment of sick and poorly nourished babies. The Society had, on its foundation in 1907, been greatly assisted by the then Governor, Lord Plunket and Lady Plunket and was, and is, more commonly known as the Plunket Society.

Basil Quin was later appointed medical superintendent of the Karitane Hospital and, in 1963, of the Mater Hospital. He remained on the staff of the Auckland Hospital and as medical superintendent of the Mater and Karitane Hospitals until he reached the retirement age in 1973. Quin maintained his interest in children over the years as a member of the Plunket Society Advisory Board and as a life member of the New Zealand Paediatric Society, having been a member of the Society’s inaugural committee.

He served several terms on the appointments committee of the Auckland Hospital Board. He was a member and long time master of the Auckland Guild of St Luke, Saints Cosmas and Damian. Basil was a member and office bearer of a number of national and Auckland medical societies, including the Arthritis Foundation, the Diabetes Society and the Auckland Clinical, Medical Historical and Doctor Clergy Societies. For more than forty years he was on the board of the Leprosy Trust and for long periods served on various boards of the then Department of Social Welfare. He was the medical adviser to the Carmelite Sisters in Auckland for 45 years.

Basil Quin was a quiet, honourable man of gentle humour and a somewhat retiring manner. In his last years Basil was hampered by the persisting effects of a fractured hip and failing vision. He had been an avid reader all his life and when he could no longer see well enough to read he overcame this affliction by enthusiastic use of talking books for the blind.

Basil married Leonie Isobel Stokes, a New Zealand nurse, in 1938 in Westminster Cathedral. They enjoyed a very happy marriage until Mrs Quin’s death in 1987. They had three children.

Keith E D Eyre

(Volume XI, page 464)

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