Tributes have flowed for Tweed paediatrician Dr David McMaster after his death in early January, while a petition to name a hospital ward in his honour has over 6,300 signatures.
Dr McMaster worked at the Tweed, Murwillumbah and John Flynn Private Hospitals for 23 years.
Shannon Burns, whose two children were the paediatrician’s patients, started a petition to name the paediatric ward at the new Tweed Valley Hospital after Dr McMaster.
‘I felt like we as a community really needed to do something to cherish his memory,’ said Ms Burns.
She said she was ‘actually quite surprised’ that the petition had received so much support.
‘He obviously stood out as a truly wonderful man and a wonderful paediatrician, so I think that the community should be proud and hopefully if it doesn’t happen at least we can get something in honour of him.’
In response to questions about naming the ward, a spokesperson for the Northern NSW Local Health District said: ‘The Local Health District will consider an appropriate recognition of Dr McMaster’s years of service in the coming months.’
The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/nsw-health-name-the-paediatric-ward-at-tth-after-dr-david-mcmaster?redirect=false
Hundreds of tributes shared for book project
‘The impact he had on the region was immeasurable,’ said former co-worker and physiotherapist Dannielle Pickford, whose children also saw Dr McMaster.
Ms Pickford, of Banora Point, set up the Facebook page David’s Angels to collate memories from current and former patients into a book, which she will present to Dr McMaster’s family. She has received over 100 contributions.
‘I just admired him so much, he is just the pinnacle of family centred care. He doesn’t treat a child, he treats the entire family,’ Ms Pickford said.
One of the many grateful tributes came from Alana McKelvey of Tweed Heads, whose 19-year-old son Hayden was diagnosed with ADD and ADHD as a child. ‘David helped us navigate through all the challenges we faced with Hayden and he was just wonderful,’ Ms McKelvey said.
‘I was a young mum with two kids at 18 and he never judged anyone, he was very kind, he bulk billed me… he had such a great bond with Hayden.’
‘The whole family has just loved him and I was sick with cancer just last year and he would often drop into the hospital… he’d come and see me and just check that I was going OK.’
‘He was a beautiful, kind man who was just amazing and he just had this way of talking to the children, they just responded really well to him.’