David Morton 1929 - 2012

David Morton was born at Wauchope, NSW on 9th May, 1929 and died peacefully from Pancreatic cancer at home at Gosford surrounded by his loving family on 6th March, 2012. David’s father was a distinguished school teacher, and the family moved frequently in the early years, but his secondary schooling was at Sydney Boys High-he excelled in tennis, and matriculated with a maximum pass in the Leaving certificate, beginning Medicine at Sydney University in 1946, along with over 700 others. His elder brother Max , and elder sister Marion both did Medicine at Sydney before him , were both Prosectors in anatomy, and David’s high marks in first year also took him into the Prosectory – a family achievement which will probably never be equalled. David was an extremely gifted and conscientious student, but found time to play hockey as well. The friends he made during those years remained close to him for the rest of his life. During his Obstetric term at the Royal Hospital for Women he met -and later married in 1953 -a beautiful, charming midwife, Dorothy Ironside. Theirs was a wonderful relationship, and Dorothy was everything that one could have asked for as a life’s companion over the next 52 years. David graduated high in the Honours list in 1952, spent three years at Royal Newcastle Hospital, and turned down offers of Registrarships in Surgery and Medicine to go into General Practice at Port Macquarie until 1964.

He left a very successful practice there to specialise in Obstetrics and Gynaecology-starting at the bottom again and moving with a growing family to Hobart initially, then the Area Department at Oxford, then Southampton, acquiring the MRCOG in 1966, before returning to begin specialist practice at Gosford on the NSW central coast in 1968. David was the first fully trained Obstetrician on the Central Coast, and rapidly developed a very busy referral practice no doubt aided by his own extensive experience in general practice. He was the doyen of the specialty at Gosford Hospital, always actively involved in teaching for which he was naturally gifted- but found time to write articles on a wide range of subjects, including one on Barton’s forceps in which he became a real expert. He was elevated to FRCOG in 1977, was a Foundation Fellow of the Australian College in 1979, served on State Reference committee for NSW, and was an active member of the Newcastle Obstets. and Gynae. Society, and was on the Board of the Hunter Postgraduate Medical Institute. He was an early adaptor of the laparoscope and as part of a College team to Manado in North Sulawesi in 1979 taught the local specialists how to carry out laparoscopy.

He later acquired the Diploma in Diagnostic Ultrasound, Dorothy became a qualified ultrasound radiographer, and with the late Dr Malcolm Catt they developed a quality Ultrasound facility serving the central coast -as well as continuing a busy O. and G practice –until David retired in 1996. From 1993, David and Dottie were active and much loved members of the Australian Gynaecological Travelling Society - and David’s thought provoking scientific contributions were always a highlight. He and Dottie were great travellers, and their home was adorned with beautiful treasures acquired on their trips. After the tragic and unexpected death of Dorothy in 2005 he was blessed by a chance meeting with an exceptional person, Robyn Ryan -they became very close and she became a much loved part of the wider Morton family and David’s wide circle of friends. David was a very talented landscape painter, and woodworker, and delighted his grandchildren with gifts from his workshop. In spite of all David’s professional achievements – about which he was always embarrassingly modest -, his family was always the centre of his life, and he was justifiably very proud of them all. Their three children were all high achievers – Janette became a Physiotherapist, eldest son John is an Orthopaedic surgeon at Gosford, and Robert a very successful GP at Pambula – and the nine grandchildren, plus one great grandchild were all very close. David lived long enough to see his granddaughter Susan graduate in medicine early this year.

The way in which he coped with his final illness was typically David – he remained positive until the end, greatly enjoyed visits from friends, issued strict instructions that no one was allowed to be sorry for him –and remained as always an inspiration to everyone around him. We were all privileged to have been part of his life.

ALAN D. HEWSON , AM., MD., F.R.A.N.Z.C.O.G., F.R.C.O.G.,F.R.C.S.(Ed), F.R.A.C.S. Newcastle