Monash Children’s Hospital Medical Director, Professor Nick Freezer hosted a very special guest this month with the visit of Emeritus Professor Arthur Clark to the new hospital.
Professor Clark was the Foundation Professor of Monash University’s Department of Paediatrics, and one of the most influential figures in developing our world-class children’s services.
Professor Clark was appointed in 1965, and in the decades following cared for thousands of Victorian children.
Professor Clark recalled that when he began studying oncology it was a very challenging specialty, with low cure rates. But by the time he retired many children survived their cancer.
He also made an enormous contribution to the training of several generations of paediatricians, many of whom have gone on to important roles throughout the world.
It is a tribute to the high regard he is held, that during the tour of Monash Children’s many long-serving staff and senior clinicians stopped him to pay their respects and reminisce.
As one senior clinician recalled that as a young trainee, Professor Clark had been ahead of his time in putting the child at the centre of care. “He told me that a child’s bed was one place they felt safe in hospital, and that I should always ask a child if it was OK before I sat on it.”
Professor Clark said he was very impressed with the enthusiastic staff he met, and when asked what he thought about the facilities said: “I’m jealous.”