Lives of the fellows

David John Gudex

b.31 January 1920 d.30 November 2014
MB ChB Otago(1945) MRCP Edin(1953) MRCP(1954) MRACP(1965) FRACP(1968) FRCP Edin(1971) FRCP(1977)

David John Gudex, known as ‘Jack’, was a consultant physician at Waitako Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand. He was born in Hamilton, the elder son of Emilie and Michael Gudex, a renowned scholar and botanist, and a senior master at Hamilton High School. His younger brother, Bob, became an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Waitako Hospital, and was a longstanding member of the Waikato Hospital board and the Medical Council of New Zealand. They also had a sister, Jean. He attended Hamilton West School, Hamilton High School and Otago University, where he graduated MB ChB in 1945. He was a good all round sportsman and represented his university at rugby.

After qualifying, he was a house surgeon and registrar at Waikato Hospital, before joining W C (Wilf) Mills in general practice in Frankton, where he spent over four years working in all aspects of general practice, including being a visiting anaesthetist at Waikato Hospital.

After spending two years, from 1952 to 1954, in Edinburgh and London, where he carried out further training, he returned to New Zealand to set up as a consultant physician in Hamilton. In 1955, he was appointed as a part-time visiting physician to Waikato Hospital, a position he held until his retirement in 1979.

In his hospital role, he developed a special interest and expertise in endocrinology, in collaboration with Kaye Ibbertson in Auckland, and initially established this as a local specialty until the appointment of a specialist endocrinologist in 1979. He helped establish much of the specialisation in medicine at Waikato Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s, in particular as chairman of medicine, a position he held for nine years.

He was chairman of the organising committee for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ meeting in Hamilton in 1982 and played a prominent role in the activities of the RACP’s special advisory committee on general medicine.

His long-standing associations in the community, wide experience in general practice, and his personal empathy, conferred particular credibility as a competent general physician. He was involved in the care of many colleagues and their families, and has been referred to as ‘the physicians’ physician’. It was as a well-respected ‘father figure’ in the community that Jack particularly made his mark, and where his heart lay.

He was a prominent Rotarian and, as a member of the board of trustees of the D V Bryant Trust Board, strongly supported the development of a major education centre at Waikato Hospital.

He retired to Waiheke Island, where he tended an orchard and farmed a few head of stock for a few years. He suffered a painful end from chronic sepsis following a femoral fracture and unsuccessful surgery. Predeceased by his first wife, Norma (née Bickell), who died in 1997, and a son, John, who died in infancy, he was survived by his second wife Shirley (née Appelton), a former Otago classmate whom he married in 2005, one son, David, one daughter, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Peter Rothwell

(Volume XII, page web)

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