It is with sadness that I pass on the news that Jack Mackay died on Sunday evening after a 3 year battle with cancer. He is remembered by his many friends and colleagues at St Vincent’s as a skilled and passionate clinician, dedicated to improving the life of his patients, and committed to developing junior surgical trainees.
Jack Mackay had a significant and lasting impact on St Vincent’s, and was instrumental in the development of the specialty of Colorectal Surgery. Jack started his medical career at St V’s, and spent most of his professional life here, as a Colorectal surgeon in the surgical unit of Peter Ryan. Within this unit, Jack was instrumental in the development of the Specialty of Colorectal Surgery. He had a particular interest in the surgery of inflammatory bowel disease, and in the use of surgical staplers for colorectal anastomoses. He facilitated the appointment of postgraduate fellowships to the Department. Ultimately Jack became the Head of the Colorectal surgical unit at St Vincent's.
Throughout his time at SVHM, Jack was always very interested and supportive of surgical trainees, as well as young surgeons returning to the hospital from overseas experience. This interest extended outside St V’s, within the RACS, and the CSSANZ. (Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand). He was instrumental in the development of the Specialist Colorectal Society, and in the College of Surgeons became the Chairman of the training Board, and the Chairman of the Board in General Surgery. Jack developed and supervised the first Australian Colorectal training rotation as a trial at St Vincent’s Melbourne in 1985. Its success was the basis of the current Australian Colorectal training program which is the benchmark of General surgery training programs in Australia and New Zealand. Jack was Chairman of this Board for many years.
Jack was appointed an Associate Professor to the University of Melbourne and was awarded membership in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to medicine, clinical governance and professional organisations. After retirement from SVH, Jack continued to be actively engaged in private practice, and in 2005 was appointed the Medical Director of Epworth Eastern Hospital- a post he retained until his death.
Jack is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and his four children: Sarah; Anna, Dan and Sean, who followed his father into surgery at SVHM, and more recently at Eastern Health and Epworth Eastern.
Vale Jack, A job well done. A life of enormous dedication and contribution.