A key figure in the New Zealand diabetes scene, Dr David Scott, passed away in March 2007 at the age of 77.
Christchurch born, Dr Scott's chosen profession of medicine started at Otago Medical school, and he had further education and experience in Europe, the US and Australia. He had many roles relating to his specialty interest of diabetes, including being President of the NZSSD for a time.
Dr Scott was for many years a well known figure at Auckland University and around Middlemore Hospital. As an endocrinologist, his passion was diabetes, but just as importantly, the people who had the diabetes. Talk to health professionals who worked in Middlemore at the time of Dr Scott's tenure, you'll hear stories of how he would arrive on the ward with someone with a complex story, requesting to be phoned at any hour of the night with the results of tests or to issue further instructions. He believed in knowing his patients and their families, as well as providing the best of care. One of the number of books he was involved in writing, the 1989 "Stories of Life with Diabetes" with Eva Palasti Brown, was typical of the interest he had in actual people, their lives and how they coped, rather than just the disease itself.
For Diabetes Projects Trust (DPT), Dr Scott was involved in the early 1990's at the very beginning, working closely with DPT founder Professor David Simmons along with Sir John Scott, Betty Hunapo, and Christina Tapu. Dr Scott was a member of the Board of Trustees and had the role of honorary Medical director for DPT for a number of years until the early 2000's. He was actively involved in the Trust's programmes and research activities, provided training and development to team members, and was ever ready to give wise advice and support.
This advice and support includes mentoring other clinicians. In particular David Simmons recounts how on moving to South Auckland, he was mentored by Dr Scott. His establishment of one of the first diabetes in pregnancy clinics and a community-based complication prevention programme led David Simmons to research and publish extensively in the area of epidemiology of diabetes in pregnancy.
Dr Scott's achievements were many in research, clinical practice, and in his overall contribution to the field of diabetes and it's management. His career starting in a time very different from now when options for people with diabetes were much, much more limited. He was a ground breaker and a driver of progress and saw and contributed to many changes and improvements.
Dr Scott was married and had six children.