Lives of the fellows

Desmond Stewart Peter Dickson

b.29 October 1925 d.15 August 2013
MB ChB New Zealand(1949) MRCP(1954) MRACP(1956) FRACP(1971) FRCP(1980)

Desmond was born in Invercargill and was educated at St Patrick’s College in Silverstream, where he was awarded the Senior Chemistry Prize in his final year.

He undertook his Medical training at Otago Medical School and beside passing all his examinations with ease, he found time to pursue his interest in swimming, resulting in him being awarded his University Swimming Blue in three consecutive years.

Following graduation, he spent a year as a house surgeon at Masterton Hospital and a further year at Palmerston North Hospital. His postgraduate training was in London at the Hammersmith Postgraduate Medical School and also at the Hither Green Hospital for Infectious Diseases.

He returned to New Zealand after becoming a Member of the Royal College of Physicians and worked as a Junior Medical Specialist at Green Lane Hospital for two years.

For the next ten years, Des had a private practice in Waipukurau and he was a part time visiting Physician to Waipukurau Hospital.

He was persuaded to move to Palmerston North where he spent the rest of his career as a private consultant cardiologist and consultant physician at Palmerston North Hospital. Although Green Lane Hospital had the first Coronary Care Unit in New Zealand, Palmerston North Hospital had the second and he was Physician in Charge of the Unit. This Unit was on the 4th floor of the hospital and he always shunned the lift and strode smartly up the stairs, accompanied by his junior colleagues.

His continuing work in Cardiology, resulted in him establishing the Hypertension Clinic, the Pediatric Cardiology Clinic, the Stress Testing Laboratory and the Pacemaker Clinic.

His expertise was also used as the Medical Advisor for Glaxo Palmerston North and as a member of the Medical Misadventure Advisory Committee in Wellington.

As well as the administration work required in the Coronary Care Unit, he served on the Committee of the Palmerston North Hospital Combined Medical Staff and also, as its Chairman for a period of time. Another of his interests, was the Manawatu branch of the Royal Society and he also served as its President.

He enjoyed music (he was a gifted piano player), books, fine wines and his rose garden. Every year, he delivered his first rose blooms to some of his elderly patients.

As a result of one of his publications, "Data Recording in a Coronary Care Unit ", he was asked to make a presentation at the "First International Symposium on Intensive Medicare and Shock" in Rio de Janeiro, where he met many of the World leaders in this field.

Desmond is survived by his wife Jenny and his three children.

G M Kirk

[Reproduced, with permission, from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ College Roll]

(Volume XII, page web)

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