23 March 2007
Waikato Hospital Surgeon
Waikato Hospital paediatric orthopaedic surgeon David Clews died on Thursday.
Dr Clews, 48, was a surgeon at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton from 1992 till September last year when ill health forced him to retire.
He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in this year’s New Year’s Honours.
Dr Clews was part of a team of 55 professionals that successfully separated conjoined twins at Waikato Hospital in October 2004. His challenge was to separate the spines.
Colleague paediatric surgeon Askar Kukkady today said he had worked with other paediatric orthopaedic surgeons in the UK, USA, Australia, India and New Zealand and Dr Clews was “by far the best”.
His surgical skills were fantastic and he was always well organised, he said.
“The way he approached an operation was always special and the way he could understand a problem and act on it. This man had everything. He was so down to earth and had time for everyone,” said Dr Kukkady.
The parents of the now 2-year-old twins today said Dr Clews was one of New Zealand’s true gentlemen.
“There are no words that we can find that are great enough to describe his contribution to our family.
“We know that without him the surgical team would not have been able to perform the miracle needed to ensure that our two little girls are able to enjoy a normal life.
“We are truly grateful that our girls were able to benefit from his amazing skill. He will always hold a very special place in our family’s heart not only because of his amazing medical skill but also because of the positive way in which he supported us and the girls.
“He was not only a great New Zealand paediatric and orthopaedic surgeon, he was a very special person with a very special way about him,” the parents said.
Dr Clews’ wife Eleni Nikolau said her family had felt loved and supported by everybody during his illness - including his colleagues, friends and former patients.
“We love that he was so loved because we love him too,” she said.
Waikato Hospital general manager health services Jan Adams said Dr Clews was a highly respected clinician whose loss would be felt by the entire organisation.
“Our thoughts are with his family.
“His dedication to teaching, developing junior medical staff, nursing staff and allied health professionals has been a constant feature,” said Ms Adams.
Dr Clews is survived by his wife and children Rebecca and Christopher. A service in celebration of his life will be held at the Chapel of Christ the King, St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton on Monday at 2pm.