Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 01-April-2005, Vol 118 No 1212
Alan Kevin Mark Simpson
It is with a sad heart that I inform you that Alan died unexpectedly while out running in Cornwall Park, Auckland on 11 January 2005, 5 days short of his 38th birthday.
Always full of enthusiasm and energy, he was able to direct this to maintain a balanced life where his family and friends came first.
He and his wife, Sally, met during a summer break while Alan was the Rainbow’s End chicken and with the stability of a consultant’s position they started their long-desired family. Alan doted on his two gorgeous boys, Sebastian aged 3 years and Oscar aged 21 months, and had the utmost pride in their developmental achievements.
Far from detracting from his career, this family-first philosophy enhanced his effectiveness as a community paediatrician and superb clinical teacher that saw him held in high regard by his colleagues and the many families he worked for.
Alan was born in England; his family immigrated to New Zealand during his formative years. His academic aptitude saw him excel during his secondary education at Manurewa High School, where he gained a junior scholarship. Alan took this love of learning into medicine and achieved a medical degree at the University of Auckland in 1990. He was quick to channel his medical interest into Paediatrics and he completed his Diploma of Paediatrics in 1992 and RACP Paediatrics examination in 1996, the latter being delayed when his father died after becoming seriously ill. He always spoke with gratitude of those involved in his training in Auckland and Waikato. He was particularly appreciative of the extra lengths the paediatric staff from Waikato went to in assisting him with his preparation for the clinical examination.
As was the way with Alan, his focus and clarity of purpose saw him pursue specialist practice in Community Paediatrics and Population Health and, before his admission to FRACP in 1999, he and Sally returned to England. Here he trained in Community and Developmental Paediatrics first at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital then Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children during which he finished a Master of Science in Community Paediatrics at the Institute of Child Health, London.
On his return from England in 2000, Alan took up his role with Kidz First in Community Paediatrics and Population Health and in 2002 he became the Clinical Leader for Community Health. His unassuming manner and thoughtful approach saw him excel in this role and his leadership, support, humour, and advice for the multidisciplinary team combined with his outstanding clinical skills and support for medically fragile children and their families saw him have the respect of all concerned. His passion for Population Health saw him involved with several projects including an Oral Health Plan as well as an Injury Prevention and Needs Analysis of the Health Status of Children that will have a lasting effect for the children of South Auckland and the wider Auckland region.
Not satisfied just with his clinical role, Alan re-established the position of Senior Lecturer in General Paediatrics in South Auckland, and in 2002, his commitment to medical education was recognised when he was the recipient of the University of Auckland’s Dennis Pickup Clinical Teacher Award.
A devoted husband, father and family man, respected colleague and friend, committed and skilled clinician, Alan’s death will leave a large void for all who knew him.
When I have moved beyond you
In the great adventure of life
Gather in some pleasant place
And there remember me
With spoken word old and new
Ekuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero, I muri kia mau ki te aroha, ki te ture mete whakapono.
(There is but one eye of the needle through which the white, black and the red threads must pass. After I am gone hold fast to love, the law and trust.)
We are grateful to Dr Ross Drake for this obituary.
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