Column: Caring people who had lives to remember

In this week’s column, Dr Rev John Smith remembers some former colleagues he has bis farewell to in recent weeks...

By Michael Whelan
Thursday, 21st February 2019, 12:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 12:04 pm
John Smith: Kettering: Rev Dr John Smith, founder of Cransley Hospice in the garden of his home in Barton Seagrave. 
Thursday October 26, 2017 NNL-171026-110334009
John Smith: Kettering: Rev Dr John Smith, founder of Cransley Hospice in the garden of his home in Barton Seagrave. Thursday October 26, 2017 NNL-171026-110334009

In the last few weeks I have presided at the funerals of several of my medical colleagues.

No, there has not been an epidemic, age and illness have taken their toll.

Doctors and nurses get sick just as the rest of us do.

It is worth remembering that when we see them, they carry the experience of life too, they share the difficulties that we all have.

And that experience helps them, and us, manage our problems, in other words it is not just their medical knowledge that they use.

And at times, too, they will come to work on a bad day when, perhaps, they do not feel well or all is not well at home and on those days they will endeavour to push them to one side so that they can deal with our problems.

A long introduction but I want to talk about the lives of these doctors and the one nurse who have died.

Dr Ian Marsh had been a family doctor in Corby, in fact, in one of the poorest areas of the town; he chose to do that, he could have chosen an easier route.

Note the word ‘family’ that’s what he was - a family doctor; he knew them all by name, moreover, he knew them and they knew him.

He also set up a screening programme to help reduce the amount of heart disease in the town of Corby.

Dr Terry Dibble was a family doctor in Wellingborough, working at times in areas where you worried about parking your car.

Always available, always ready to listen and like Ian, never miserable although his work as a police surgeon got him out of bed most nights.

Rose Monaghan was a senior nurse at Kettering General Hospital.

She was a nurse dedicated to the care of her patients and their families.

Rose was a true role model - she inspired nurses and knew how to lead them.

Dr Margaret Branford was a consultant psychiatrist for the elderly; she may well have cared for some of your relatives.

I admired her: patient, skilled, completely and utterly holistic in her approach.

Seriously ill for some years before she retired but you would not have known.

Dr Ken Padget was a family doctor in Burton Latimer and district in the days when surgeries were conducted in the front rooms of cottages and houses - a family doctor in a way that has long since disappeared.

He practised from one of the first new medical centres in the county. How small it would seem now.

Robert Smith was a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Kettering.

One of the most demanding of specialities requiring skill and knowledge that most of us can only aspire to.

Emergencies appear almost from thin air, all requiring the right decision at the right time. Robert did that.

One of his colleagues described him as kind, honest and modest, a doctor who will be honest with you when things are difficult.

These people have brought their lives to us, their skills and knowledge to us, their humanity as well.