As the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute unfolded, Dr Bruce Shepherd was introduced to a young General Practitioner in Canberra, recently appointed as President of the ACT Branch of the AMA – Dr Stan Doumani. Dr Shepherd stated, ‘One could not help but be enormously impressed by the grasp of this man on the issues, the embedded concept of quality independent medical practice, and the doctor/patient relationship. Not only did he have those concepts thoroughly and clearly in his mind, he expressed them clearly and confidently to all who would listen, and he handled the media superbly. It was Stan Doumani who made the profession aware of the threat of nationalisation and fought it so handsomely. I still cannot but marvel at the way Stan conducted himself during those difficult days. In the ensuing years he has continued to use these great talents for the good of the medical profession and his patients. He has held many positions in professional organisations, all onerous and anything but glamorous.’
What is not well known or appreciated is his role as a counsellor to distressed doctors, who he has cared for with remarkable confidentiality and kindness.
Dr Doumani served on the Management Committee of the Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Australian Doctors’ Federation) for almost 30 years, and continues to be a Director of the ADF. His devotion to patients set a gold standard for medical practice in the ACT. It is only fitting that his contribution be acknowledged through the presentation of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.