David Chamberlain

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David Chamberlain
Orthopaedic Surgeon
15 Ooctober 1947 ‒ 9 December 2011 

David Norman Chamberlain was born on the 15 October 1947 at Cygnet, in the Huon Valley in Tasmania. He was the second eldest of the six children of Norman Chamberlain, a general practitioner, and his wife Phyllis. He grew up in South Road, Moorabbin where his father had his general practice. David's primary schooling was at Kostka Hall, Brighton. From there he moved on to senior school at Xavier College in Kew.

A bright student, and to keen to maintain the family tradition, David went on to study Medicine at Melbourne University, graduating in 1971. Following his graduation he became a resident at St Vincent's hospital in Melbourne where he met a nurse called Maree who later became his wife.

David developed an interest in surgery and after completing his surgical residency he set his sights on Orthopaedics. Opportunities to train in Melbourne were scarce and David was accepted for a training position in Perth.

After he successfully completed his orthopaedic training David travelled to Edinburgh to work at the Royal Infirmary. He frequently regaled his colleagues with stories of the legends of orthopaedic surgery with whom he worked during his time there.

Upon returning to Melbourne with Maree and their three children, he set up rooms at the Mercy Private hospital. He had public hospital appointments at Prince Henry's Hospital, Dandenong Hospital, and was a founding member of the Orthopaedic unit at Maroondah Hospital in Ringwood.

When first introduced to people David was initially shy and focused. However, once he established a relationship he was a true and generous friend.

He was the most efficient of surgeons. His spatial construct abilities were excellent and he rarely had to change course or re-do part of an operation. On those rare occasions he recognised the problem quickly and put it to rights. He was highly regarded by his co-workers, many of whom were also his patients.

He worked tirelessly on the Board of Studies for the Victorian Regional training committee of the AOA. He helped to train young surgeons and he made sure they got the best out of the four years of training they received. It was probably as a surgical teacher that he will best be remembered. He loved teaching and the trainees both valued and delighted in their time with him.

After Prince Henry's Hospital closed he left Dandenong Hospital in order to focus his attention on Maroondah Hospital. By this time he had also moved his private rooms to Ringwood. He served as Head of the Senior Medical Staff at Maroondah and became head of the Orthopaedic department, a position he held until his retirement due to illness.

David slipped down a flight of stairs on a rainy night and suffered a severe head injury. Whilst he eventually partially recovered, he was unable to care for himself. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer two years after his injury and was receiving chemotherapy. He died peacefully in his sleep at the age of sixty-four.

Most will remember David's passions outside orthopaedics, particularly his love for the Carlton Football club and the special relationship he had with anything Louis Vuitton. He enjoyed excellent champagne and was always the first to acquire the newest technological gadgets. He travelled extensively and always found the best restaurants, no matter where he was.

His funeral was held on Friday 16 December 2011 in Malvern. It was well attended by family and friends who gave tribute to David.

Vale Chambo.

Alison Taylor FRACS