Doctor Don Curran, a prominent and much loved specialist physician in Sutherland Shire for nearly half a century, has died at 81.
Dr Curran was Sutherland Hospital’s first medical registrar, taking up the position on January 10, 1966.
He opened a private practice as a consultant physician in Sutherland in 1968 and was dedicated to caring for his patients until closing the doors in February last year.
Dr Curran was a visiting medical officer to Sutherland Hospital for many years and was renowned for visiting his patients on weekends, which was contrary to the custom.
He would say he was prepared to make time on weekends because patients were “just as sick on Saturdays and Sundays as they are on weekdays".
Dr Curran, who died on Friday January 6, graduated in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1963.
He was a research fellow in neurology at Prince Henry Hospital before taking taking up the position of registrar at Sutherland Hospital in 1966.
Dr Curran also served as a clinical tutor at the University of NSW and was a consultant on head injuries to the Cronulla Sharks rugby league club.
His work included visits to indigenous communities in Darwin and Alice Springs to assess medical conditions and advise treatment.
Former Sutherland Shire councillor and nursing unit manager, Lorraine Rodden, who worked with Dr Curran at Sutherland Hospital and later in his practice, said his death would be felt by many.
“Don was a great physician, and was loved and respected by many many patients, who stayed with him until he closed his doors last year,” she said.
“He became ill in October last year and was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital. He was suffering from a metastatic melanoma."
Ms Rodden said a consultant physician’s role was to look at all possible causes for a patient’s illness, and not just to specialise in one area.
“Don assessed patients holistically, and his great skill was diagnostic,” she said.
”I am sure many in the medical profession, and certainly many in the nursing profession, would regard him as one of the smartest diagnosticians they had seen.”
Dr Curran was acknowledged for his contribution to the shire community in 2015 when Heathcote MP Lee Evans presented him and seven other recipients with achievement awards during Seniors Week.
Mr Evans said their stories were "inspiring".
Dr Curran leaves his wife Michelle, three children by his first marriage to Nancy, who continued to manage his practice after they broke up, and 12 grandchildren.
He will be farewelled at a service at Northern Suburbs Crematorium on Friday January 13.