Known for his ‘bottomless kindness’, Dr David McMaster is remembered by his countless grateful patients, colleagues and friends as a ‘medical giant’.
Known for his ‘bottomless kindness’, Dr David McMaster is remembered by his countless grateful patients, colleagues and friends as a ‘medical giant’.

‘Unfathomable loss’: Tributes for beloved children’s doctor

OFTEN seen at the bedside of his patients on his time off, Dr David McMaster is remembered by his countless grateful patients, colleagues and friends as a medical giant and beloved children's doctor with "bottomless kindness" who dedicated his life to his community.

Dr David McMaster the director of paediatric services at the Tweed Hospital and John Flynn Private Hospital passed away on Saturday.

Dr David McMaster.
Dr David McMaster.

Known for his humour, dedication and brilliance, Dr McMaster who had long been an advocate for medical services in his community leaves behind a wife and three kids.

Longtime friend and colleague Dr Michael Lindley-Jones, the Director of Intensive Care at Tweed Hospital said the "irreplaceable loss" of the "born doctor" had hit the community hard.

"There is an enormous amount of sadness here, he was a giant in the paediatric world," Dr Lindley-Jones said.

"He is so loved by his patients and his staff, truly loved. He was someone who saw being a doctor as far more than a job, it was his life and duty.

 

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"He would be here late into the night caring for his patients. He would accept calls in the middle of the night from families, not because it was his role to but because he truly cared. "He wanted to be there for people in any way he can. "

Dr Lindley-Jones said many fond memories of Dr McMaster were being shared through the wards of the hospital since his passing, including his fondness for a late-night Tim Tam and habit of falling asleep at his desk.

"One of the nurses said she remembered David had come in to visit a patient late at night and fell asleep while typing at his desk.

Dr David McMaster at Tweed Heads Hospital.
Dr David McMaster at Tweed Heads Hospital.

"Apparently he had typed 20 pages of the letter before someone woke him up - that was just how dedicated he was, he would give everything.

"He could be there all night and you wouldn't know because he would never complain. I was told another story of a child in his care who was dying.

"There was nothing he could do but he still went around and helped that family, he picked up medicine for them, he sat with them in their home to support and care for them - the man was exceptional.

"A brilliant doctor and always a professional but the thing that set him apart was the care he had for his patients and sense of fun.

 

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"This is a huge loss for our community."

Dr McMaster also worked as an adjunct professor of paediatrics in the Medical Program at Bond University.

Colleague Nikki Milne said Dr McMaster was just as dedicated to his students as he was his patients.

"He was dedicated to teaching medical students how to care for paediatric patients and went above and beyond particularly with vulnerable families," Ms Milne said.

"David unfailingly had the well-being of children and families at heart. He will be greatly missed by all of his colleagues and friends at Bond University and the families he cared for."

Former colleague Sabri Caliskan said Dr McMaster was a special man and asset to all he came in contact with.

"Like any other profession difficult people also work in medicine but Dr McMaster was one name everybody relaxed (to) when they heard he was working on their case.

"There were impossible cases that couldn't be helped without his care. It was not me alone but everybody regarded him highly with his personality and his work. This is a significant loss to everybody."

For Tugun's Rachel Arthur, Dr McMaster will be remembered as the man who saved her son Sudbury Arthur's life. At nine, he was brought down with a mystery infection and it was only thanks to the quick work and care of Dr McMaster he was brought back from the brink.

Dr David McMaster. Picture: Nolan Verheij-Full
Dr David McMaster. Picture: Nolan Verheij-Full

"He had this calming energy. He made me feel safe and well cared for. He was just a beautiful man with a twinkle in his eye," she said.

"My son's journey was complex and David drew on his knowledge and contacted other specialists to learn more.

"David visited us frequently connecting with my son on a level no doctor had ever done. This is an unfathomable loss."

For Sarah Walters, Dr McMaster was also a 'blessing, when he helped her manage her son's illness even though he was not taking on any more patients.

'He was an amazing doctor - a real baby and children whisperer who touched so many hearts and worked over time just to care for his patients and the love for his job," she said.

"I have never met someone quite like him and I'm sure I'm not alone in this when I say he had this safe, trusting and everything is going to be OK sense to him.

 

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"A true hero and legend to all his patients and families."

Kylie Lewis whose son was also a former patient thanked Dr McMaster in a tribute she wrote for the Bulletin.

"Thank you Dr McMaster for taking such wonderful care of our first born child; you worked around the clock for us when we desperately needed you," she wrote.

"I'm sure your family would've liked you at home but you were there by our son's bedside providing the best possible care available. You were so devoted. I still remember you taking our family picture for us as his ward stay included his fifth birthday … you said to him 'You'll always remember this birthday!'. What a huge loss to our community and hospitals, we will always be thankful to you."

John Flynn Private Hospital CEO Adam Stevenson echoed the sentiment.

"Dr McMaster has been an exceptionally committed, capable and loyal doctor who cared for patients at John Flynn Private Hospital for more than 23 years. Our close hospital community is extremely saddened by his passing. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. He will be very sorely missed."

Originally published as 'Unfathomable loss': Tributes for beloved children's doctor


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