Dean Graham Mackie DLO FRACS
Otolaryngologist Head & Neck Surgeon
19 July 1923 - 12 January 2017
Dean Mackie was born in Adelaide and was educated with a scholarship at Kings College (now Pembroke). When the war came he enlisted in the RAAF and hoped to follow his brother as aircrew flying Wellington bombers but was disappointed to be found medically unfit for this. Attaining the rank of warrant officer he was involved in malaria control and building forward airfields as the Japanese were driven out of south-east Asia.
Under the ex-servicemen's program Dean studied medicine in Adelaide, earning income during his vacations in the back-breaking work of clearing scrub on Kangaroo Island. He travelled to the UK where he obtained ENT training in prestigious hospital departments, including one in Belfast under world-renowned ear surgeon Gordon Smyth. After gaining the Diploma in Laryngology and Otology, Dean returned to Adelaide in 1961 and was appointed senior registrar at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
On entering specialist practice, Dean was appointed a consultant at Repatriation General Hospital, holding that position for 15 years. He joined Ron Gristwood in his practice in 1963, the same year that he was appointed a consultant at the Adelaide Children's Hospital, where he remained until he retired in 1989 as head of unit and Emeritus Surgeon. He was awarded his FRACS in 1982 and was instrumental in the introduction of laser technology to the ACH. In the latter part of his practising years, Dean also provided a service at Port Pirie and Noarlunga Hospitals.
Elected secretary/treasurer of the SA Section of the Otolaryngological Society of Australia in 1965-66, Dean was consecutively committeeman, vice-chairman and chairman from 1969 to 1974. He was ENT representative on the board of the South Australian Post-graduate Medical Education Association (SAPMEA) for a number of years.
The high incidence of chronic ear disease in the sixties and seventies, since then dramatically reduced by modern treatment including tympanostomy tubes, and the prevalence of otosclerosis as a surgically treatable cause of deafness, meant that microsurgery of the ear was a very large part of the practices of both Ron and Dean. Because of their overseas training in this field they were eminently able and very willing to pass on their knowledge to registrar trainees.
At the ACH Dean was very generous with his time which involved long hours looking down the viewing arm of the operating microscope and resisting the urge to take over. One registrar at that time remembers Dean patiently supervising him performing an emergency mastoidectomy late into the night, only to find at the end of the procedure that it was also Dean's birthday!
Dean had an incredible memory and extensive general knowledge and even into his last years he would occasionally attend clinical meetings, briefly addressing one as recently as November 2016.
There are several stories related to his colourful personality. He was particularly incensed by the Whitlam government and would hold up his operating lists with anti-Labor tirades. When an ear drill blew up next to his ear interrupting his concentration on a difficult ear operation, Dean's explosion was equally memorable. Dean is remembered by his trainees, several now in their seventies, with a great deal of gratitude and affection.
Dean had a large and loving family and is survived by his wife Ann, five children, six grandchildren, two step-children and their five children.
David Close RFD FRACS