Lives of the fellows

Alexander Vincent Kurta

b.16 September 1924 d.4 September 2006
MB ChB NZ(1948) FRCP(1981)

Alex Kurta was a physician at Hastings Memorial Hospital, New Zealand. Born and educated in New Plymouth, New Zealand, he qualified in medicine at Otago University. He held house posts in Wellington, Christchurch and Gisborne, and left on the last coal-burning steamer for England in 1953, later joined there by his fiancee, Laura. He trained at Whipp’s Cross Hospital and in Edinburgh, and gained his membership of the College, later being elected a Fellow.

Kurta returned to New Zealand in 1959 and took up the post of visiting physician at Hastings Memorial Hospital, specialising in respiratory medicine. At the time tuberculosis was very common, and his expertise in battling this disease throughout Hawke’s Bay was welcomed. Like most other hospital specialists of the time, Kurta commenced general practice simultaneously in rooms in King Street North, which he continued until 1994. He also served as physician to the Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Home and to Woodford House. He was an enthusiastic teacher and often gave lectures to student nurses training at Hastings Hospital, and was fully involved in the education of young doctors.

Alex was never much given to high technology or medical gimmickry, but had been well trained in the traditional arts of history-taking and careful physical examination, which he combined with shrewd clinical judgement and a very humane and caring approach, which made him well loved by his patients, and won the respect and affection of his colleagues.

He was an avid collector of art and of antique wine glasses, amassing a large number of items, many more than 200 years old. He had a keen interest in history and a quirky attachment to topiary. He is survived by his wife, Laura, their six children and 14 grandchildren.

M I Bostock

(Volume XII, page web)

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