I wish to notify you of the passing of Dr John Moulton.
John, died today (21st September 2012) in Queensland, following a deterioration in his health over the last few months.
My friend, mentor, teacher and excellent surgeon, is the reason for at least two generations of Surgical Clinicians arising out of Concord and Auburn Hospitals in NSW. This is a man who indeed showed the necessity to parallel Surgery with Patient care, to provide total care of the ill and needy, and not just list them as a condition in a bed.
He showed students, junior doctors and professors how to treat the whole patient, and always involved the family. A man, well before his time, he concentrated on extremely efficient techniques of operating, but was just as rigid in having a full plan for his patients, post operatively and on discharge.
John adored many things, all with a passion that was palpable. His children (Deb, Sue and Jamie) and grandchildren were number one on his list of loves. A tough task master, the children at times, I am sure, experienced as much expectation of their performance, equal to, if not more, than many of his trainees.
John loved the Newington College in Sydney (Moulton House coming from its headmaster in 1863 the Rev JE Moulton). For many years involved with the board of the school and its archives, he pushed to ensure that educational standards were always about the complete student not just results.
He enjoyed education; he nurtured the rigor of questioning research and the accepted maxims of schooling and Surgery alike. Just because "Prof Jo Blow" said that was the way it was to be done, was it really the correct thing to do. He was a deft hand at all General Surgery and his simultaneous lists at Auburn Hospital, were the highlight of his registrars training.
The white-coated registrars (evidence of bygone, maybe better days) around the bed of a patient, trying to mimic John's ability to define illness and treatment, yet know the football team they followed, and yes, with his true Scottish nature, where to pick up a bargain or two from the patients' businesses. He was very proud of his registrars and students and they were equally, if not more proud, to be known as one of Mr Moulton's team.
John was able to be friends with Doctor, Nurse, Physiotherapist and cleaner. He taught us that no one person was more important than another in a team. He will be loved forever by stoma-nurse and administrators alike, because all were important to him.
Then there was the rugby! John moved to being the team doctor for Eastwood Rugby club, when Sports Medicine was not an entity. Through his enthusiasm the role of the Rugby Doctor became vital and necessary. Safety for the players and a regard for their medical state whilst playing and importantly after retirement, was now a developing focus at all levels of the sport
John, was lying in a hospital bed having survived being operated on by me when he applied and was appointed to the position of Team Doctor for the Australian Rugby Union. John's thirst for knowledge regarding all aspects of this form of medicine was untiring. Hand written charts on each team member, the condition of the ground and temperatures played were carefully kept and then entered onto his surgical unit's computer ( Apple 512k). He recognized the problems of these amateurs / semi professionals and was the first to understand the importance of malnutrition/ anaemia in dealing with rugby players working and studying and still expected to train almost full time. He still, often bought his own entry tickets into the games and spent many hours in a change room doing neurological observations on yet another concussed player (initially it could have been from either side not just an Australian Player.)
Improvements occurred in all aspects of care of the Rugby players and even with hip and knee replacements, John kept putting up his hand up to continue the work he had started so many years previously. He worked with many coaches from Alan Jones and Bob Dwyer to all levels of trainers and enjoyed all of these times (even overcoming signs in the medical rooms that "Wimps don't win")
Two events in rugby defined Dr John Moulton. John was the first to congratulate the professionalism of the long time Australian Physiotherapist Greg Craig. He always said that without the tenacity of "Craigy" and the guts shown by Nick Farr-Jones, that Australia would never have won the 1991 World Cup in the UK (Nick had injured his knee early in the campaign but the sheer determination of both men, saw Nick play and hold up the Cup)
The second episode was when a young Australian winger was obviously injured after the cessation of play in an International game against The Kiwis. He felt so strongly that the players' welfare had been abandoned by the ruling bodies of the Australian and International Rugby, that he resigned his long term appointment on the spot.
Dr John Moulton has died and he will be missed. To his family, I assure you that his legacy will never be lost. His students, now doctors of many varieties teach his rules and values every day. His surgical registrars, now Surgeons and Professors around the globe continue the fight to provide total patient care, not just operations.
Finally, from a corner of the T.G Millner field at Eastwood, where, if you listen carefully you might just hear the strains of Geoff Harvey on the piano and the clink of a middy glass, to the roar of yet another Bledisloe Cup tussle in the International Stadium of Dunedin NZ , you know that John will be there, dressed immaculately in his Australian team gear, scarf just so, leaning forward on his seat and smiling
Professor Martin Jones