On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.102 n.5 Cape Town May. 2012
The anaesthetist profoundly impacts on surgical intervention outcomes. Dr Emile Welgemoed will be considered by those who worked with him to have been an anaesthetist exemplar. Emile died tragically during a farming accident in Uniondale on 21 January 2012 at the age of 41.
Emile was in private practice in Knysna for much of his short career and exemplified the traits of an excellent anaesthetist. This included good communication skills which facilitated optimal pre-operative planning and a seamless execution of his lists. His confidence and relaxed attitude created a pleasant theatre environment. Emile was also expeditious, another great attribute in an anaesthetist, especially when lists are long and there are many patients. He treated all staff, irrespective of their rank or job description, with respect.
Although he worked in a small coastal private hospital, Emile kept abreast of developments in his field and ensured that his skills and knowledge were up to date. More recently he developed an interest in chronic pain, demonstrating his compassion for a group of patients who are extremely difficult to manage.
Emile was a great friend and many of his work relationships extended into a social context, once again demonstrating his extremely amicable nature. He was a committed father and husband and demonstrated that rare art of being able to balance work and life. We would do well to remember his life as we progress through our careers.
He leaves behind his wife, Heidi, and children, Sebastian and Lili.