There is no one more committed to the enjoyment of sacred music than Sydney and now Queensland Anaesthetist Dr Jim Wilkinson. His professional relationship with Dr Bruce Shepherd was formed early in their medical careers when Dr Shepherd was searching for an Anaesthetist with an excellent clinical record and strong repertoire of good jokes and in particular, new material. Together they became a dynamic duo, pioneering hip surgery and successfully undertaking many difficult cases, referred to them by other specialists.
During the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute, Dr Wilkinson took a leadership role, calling on Anaesthetists to support Bruce Shepherd in the conflict with the NSW Government over the right of private practice in public hospitals. Many young doctors can be forgiven for not realising how close the profession came to nationalisation during this time.
Over the years, Jim Wilkinson has contributed significantly to the independence of the profession and the maintenance of high clinical standards of Australian Anaesthesia. He went on to pursue a medico-legal pathway as an expert witness and obtained a professional understanding of the Australian legal system, which also proved invaluable to the ADF. Jim can quickly read any complex legal case and give you a precise summary of the issues at hand.
In the words of his colleague and friend Dr Bruce Shepherd, ‘As a surgeon I have never felt more comfortable in a theatre as I have with Jim as the Anaesthetist. The courage his ability has given him has been used for the great benefit of many extremely sick patients.’ There can be no more fitting acknowledgement than to award Dr Jim Wilkinson the Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.