Teresa Rita O’Rourke Cramond, In Memoriam, Obituary


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Professor Teresa Rita O'Rourke Cramond AO OBE
22 February 1926 - 26 December 2015

Teresa Rita O'Rourke Cramond (nee Brophy) lived an outstandingly successful life of service to others as an anaesthetist and educator. Her extensive achievements, leadership roles and honours can only be summarised here.

Teresa (universally known as Tess) was born in Maryborough, Queensland, the third of four daughters of William and Jane Brophy.

Tess won an open scholarship to the University of Queensland and graduated MBBS in 1951. Residency at the Brisbane Hospital (later the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospitals - RBWH) and appointment as an anaesthetic registrar set her on her life's career. She worked in London for 3 years, winning the Nuffield Prize of the Royal College of Surgeons and obtaining Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1956. Returning to Australia she obtained Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1957 and in Brisbane worked as a consultant anaesthetist at RBWH, Mater Hospitals and Chermside Hospitals and in private practice.

Tess delivered several major lectures and orations and was awarded many prizes during her career including the Gilbert Brown Prize of the RACS, the Gold Medal of the Faculty of Anaesthetists RCS and the Robert Orton Medal of the Faculty of Anaesthetists RACS.

Tess was Dean of the Faculty of Anaesthetics of the RACS 1972-74 and a co-opted councillor of the RACS and later elected as a member of the RACS Court of Honour in 1980. After the establishment of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Tess was made a Fellow and later a Fellow of the Faculty of Pain Management of ANZCA. Tess was always interested in the management of chronic pain and coordinated a service at RBWH for 42 years - the service later being named in her honour as the Tess Cramond Multidisciplinary Pain Centre.

Tess was the first Professor of Anaesthetics appointed by the University of Queensland in 1978 and provided distinguished service until her retirement in 1993 when she was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus.

Among many leadership roles was a term as President of the AMA Queensland in 1981-82. Dr. Humphry Cramond was a widower and was President of AMA Queensland soon afterwards. Tess and Humphry married in 1985 and their love and companionship in the later years of their lives was a pleasure to observe. Tess was close to a large extended family and maintained a strong Roman Catholic faith.

Tess served as a Colonel in the RAAMC, Senator and Member of the Academic Board University of Queensland, Senator of the Australian Catholic University, Member of the RBWH Foundation, Councillor of the Medical Defence Society of Queensland, Member of the Queensland Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, Member of the National Health and Medical Research Council, Chair of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Resuscitation Council (Emeritus Consultant 1989), Chair of the National Medical Advisory Committee of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia, Chair of the Palliative Care Association of Queensland, and Member of Queensland Cancer Fund Council and committees. She was an advisor and educator in resuscitation for many groups including the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Electrical Commission and the National Heart Foundation and also a member of many state and federal government advisory committees.

Tess was awarded an OBE in 1977 and an AO in 1991. Among many additional awards were Dame of Magisterial Grace Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta 1979, Fellowship of the AMA in 1983 (the first woman so honoured) and an Advance Australia Award in 1986. She received the Distinguished Service Award of the Australian Red Cross 1994 and the AMA Women in Medicine Award in 1999. Her involvement outside medicine with the Surf Life Savers was extraordinary and Tess was inducted into the Australian Surf Lifesaving Hall of Fame in 2004.

Tess was an exemplary anaesthetist and demanded high standards of herself and all who worked with her. She was an extremely hard worker as can be seen from the formidable listing of community service organizations that she contributed to - only some of which are noted here. Despite ill-health and reduced mobility she continued leading the Pain Relief Service at RBWH for many years after a less determined and dedicated person would have retired.

Tess was intelligent, charming and strong-willed, and a great role model, mentor and teacher. Her legacy in anaesthesia, pain management, and resuscitation will live on.

Professor Ian Gough AM FRACS



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