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Biographical entry Moulton, John Egan (1930 - 2012)

OAM 1997; MB BS Sydney; FRCS 1959; FRCS Edin; FRACS.

Born
2 September 1930
Molong, New South Wales, Australia
Died
21 September 2012
Occupation
General surgeon and Specialist in sports medicine

Details

John Egan Moulton was born in Molong, NSW in 1930, moved to Cootamundra with his mother and father and brother Bill, and then onto Broken Hill. He moved to Sydney to finish his schooling at Newington, becoming the 4th generation Moulton to be at the school. John played both rugby and cricket - sports he continued, first at Sydney University where he studied medicine and then at Royal North Shore Hospital where he was on the cricket team.

John moved to England, where he worked as a surgical registrar at Ashford Hospital, and obtained post graduate surgical fellowships at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and Royal College of Surgeons, England. Sport was never far from John's agenda and while in England he played cricket for Australia House in London.

John was appointed to Royal North Shore Hospital (with cousin Ray Hollings). This was followed by his appointment as Staff Surgeon at Lidcombe State Hospital in 1962 (where he also joined the cricket team!!) John then moved into private practice at Auburn District Hospital, where he was appointed Honorary Medical Officer of Surgery. At the same time, he was appointed to the staff at the Repatriation Hospital at Concord.

This is a man who indeed showed the necessity to parallel surgery with patient care, to provide total care of the ill and needy, and not just list them as a condition in a bed. He showed students, junior doctors and professors how to treat the whole patient, and always involved the family. A man well before his time, he concentrated on extremely efficient techniques of operating, but was just as rigid in having a full plan for his patients, post operatively and on discharge.

John adored many things, all with a passion that was palpable. His children (Deb, Sue and Jaimie) and grandchildren were number one on his list of loves. A tough task master, the children at times, I am sure, experienced as much expectation of their performance, equal to, if not more, than many of his trainees.

He enjoyed education, he nurtured the rigor of questioning research and the accepted maxims of schooling and Surgery alike. He was a deft hand at all General Surgery and his simultaneous lists at Auburn Hospital, were the highlight of his registrars training.

The white-coated registrars (evidence of bygone, maybe better days) around the bed of a patient, trying to mimic John's ability to define illness and treatment, yet know the football team they followed, and yes, with his true Scottish nature, where to pick up a bargain or two from the patients' businesses. He was very proud of his registrars and students and they were equal, if not more proud to be known as one of Mr Moulton's team.

John was able to be friends with doctor, nurse, physiotherapist and cleaner. He taught us that no one person was more important than another in a team. He will be loved forever by stoma- nurse and administrators alike, because all were important to him.

Then there was the rugby! John moved to being the team doctor for Eastwood Rugby club, when Sports Medicine was not an entity. Through his enthusiasm the role of the Rugby Doctor became vital and necessary. Safety for the players and a regard for their medical state whilst playing and importantly after retirement, was now a developing focus at all levels of the sport. John was lying in a hospital bed having survived being operated on by me when he applied and was appointed to the position of Team Doctor for the Australian Rugby Union.

John's thirst for knowledge regarding all aspects of this form of medicine was untiring. Hand written charts on each team member, the condition of the ground and temperatures played were carefully kept and then entered onto his surgical unit's computer (Apple 512k). He recognized the problems of these amateurs/semi-professionals and was the first to understand the importance of malnutrition/anaemia in dealing with rugby players working and studying and still expected to train almost full time.

He still, often bought his own entry tickets into the games and spent many hours in a change room doing neurological observations on yet another concussed player (initially it could have been from either side not just an Australian Player).

Improvements occurred in all aspects of care of the Rugby players and even with hip and knee replacements, John kept putting up his hand up to continue the work he had started so many years previously. He worked with many coaches from Alan Jones and Bob Dwyer to all levels of trainers and enjoyed all of these times (even overcoming signs in the medical rooms that "Wimps don't win").

Upon his resignation in 2000, John was honoured by being made a Life Member of the ARU for services to rugby. He was bestowed the Order of Australia (OAM) on 1 May 1997 for service to surgery and medical education, particularly in relation to Sports Medicine.

His passion and hard work in both sport and medicine led John to volunteer for the SOCOG Doping Control team for the Sydney Olympics, John was promoted to be a Medical Commissioner of the International Olympic Committee, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee. John retired to the Gold Coast in 2005 to be near family and friends.

Dr John Moulton died on 21 September 2012 and he will be missed. To his family, I assure you that his legacy will never be lost. His students, now doctors of many varieties teach his rules and values every day. His surgical registrars, now surgeons and professors around the globe continue the fight to provide total patient care, not just operations.

Finally, from a corner of the T G Milner field at Eastwood, where, if you listen carefully you might just hear the strains of Geoff Harvey on the piano and the clink of a middy glass, to the roar of yet another Bledisloe Cup tussle in a stadium in New Zealand, you know that John will be there, dressed immaculately in his Australian team gear, scarf just so, leaning forward on his seat and smiling.

Martin Jones

Sources used to compile this entry: [Republished by kind permission of the President and Council of The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons from In Memoriam (http://www.surgeons.org/member-services/in-memoriam)].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England