Professor David Fletcher retires with accolades and warm thanks

Professor David Fletcher
Professor David Fletcher retires this month.
January 14, 2020

After 50 years in medicine, surgeon Professor David Fletcher will hang up his scrubs for the last time this month.

‘Prof’, as he is affectionately known, will retire as Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group’s Head of General Surgery at the end of January, leaving behind lasting memories of a highly accomplished surgeon, mentor and friend to many in the health system.

Prof Fletcher  started his career as an intern at Fremantle Hospital in 1969, where he met his wife Chrissy. His involvement with Fremantle Hospital stretches back even further to when he worked there during his university holidays.

Dr Amanda Foster, who will take over the role of Head of General Surgery,  said David was world-renowned as a upper-gastrointestinal surgeon and as a teacher and mentor who had trained many others who had gone on to achieve excellence.

“Prof Fletcher was an amazing mentor, and yet so humble,” Amanda said.

“In these relationships there was no sense of a hierarchy – he just led by example.

“He was very supportive, and nothing was too much trouble – he gave his number to junior doctors and urged them to call if there was a problem.”

She said this attitude created a very collegiate department, with a great spirit.

Prof Fletcher was also a leader in WA health services’ planning, working on system-wide reform and was part of the commissioning of Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Elected a Councillor of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2015, he improved teaching methods and helped create the Operating with Respect course.

Prof Fletcher was instrumental in developing and introducing laparoscopic surgery to Australia and in 1990 performed the first laparoscopic gall bladder surgery in the country.

His research spans gut endocrinology and surgical epidemiology.

His awards include Honorary Life Membership of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (1998) and an Order of Australia (AM) in 2018.

Executive Director Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital’s Group, Neil Doverty thanked Prof Fletcher for his dedicated service to his patients and the health service over a long and distinguished career.

“Prof Fletcher is an exemplar of passion and commitment, demonstrated through his leadership and commitment to his profession.

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