Obituary: Dr Michael Wertheimer – August – 2006

This notice is to publicly acknowledge the contribution made by Dr Michael Wertheimer to his fellow Australians through his continuous service as a Director and member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Doctors’ Fund.

Dr Wertheimer was a fierce advocate for improvements to health care and a strong voice for Tasmania in National health care forums.

He was involved in many projects organising meetings, reports, submissions, conferences and funding for the improvement of public and private healthcare in Tasmania and mainland Australia.

The Royal Hobart Hospital and its difficulties concerned him greatly and resulted in his report entitled, “Towards a Positive Future for Tasmanian Public Hospitals” released in November 2004 at a time when Michael was suffering the debilitating effects of Parkinsons Disease about which he never complained although it caused him to cease surgical practice prematurely.

In December 2004, he allowed his own medical condition to become public in order to highlight the difficulty experienced by many Tasmanians with similar conditions in accessing affordable services locally. He never stopped caring for others.

Dr Wertheimer served his country as a medical office in the Naval Reserve and later on active service as a Lieutenant Colonel with The Royal Australian Medical Corp in the 1991 Gulf War (as a naval surgeon), Rwanda 1994 and Bougainville 1998-99 and recently East Timor.

He also served in office bearer positions on the Federal Council of the AMA and the Australian Association of Surgeons.

In 1999 during an AMA election campaign the Chairman of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Dr Bruce Shepherd described Dr Michael Wertheimer as a person “who ranks with very few others as a true and proper leader who has the true quality and independence of the profession at heart and the balls to be effective”. It was ever true and he will be greatly missed by the National Committee of the Australian Doctors’ Fund where he contributed weekly since its inception in 1989.

Stephen Milgate
Executive Director
For and behalf of the Chairman, Dr Bruce Shepherd, The Board, and all the contributors of the Australian Doctors’ Fund