Anthony McCartney: Physician Extraordinaire.
Were it not for his demeanor you could easily have passed him in his shorts and floppy hat without giving him a second look. But there was something about him that caught the eye, a stature, an authority, an interest in others. He was kind, the father of our son’s friend, our neighbor. A family man, he took our son on his family's Easter adventures into the Aussie bush land.
I knew him by reputation first, by sight second. Many women told me that he had saved their lives. They traveled from all over Australia to receive care from this Certified Gynaecologic Oncologist. Eventually women around the world would benefit from his tubular device that revolutionized delicate surgery in his field. His motivation for inventing the device was to make invasive surgeries less invasive and to give women an improved chance at recovery with less pain and discomfort.
He held many lofty titles, received many awards, headed many departments and was a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University of Notre Dame, Australia. He expressed his passion for teaching by spending countless hours training Residents and Registrars.
Dr McCartney was the first trained gynaecologic cancer surgeon in Western Australia. He instigated the introduction of major tumor reductive surgery in the management of advanced ovarian cancer. Believing in the multidisciplinary approach he linked clinics with Radiation and Medical Oncologists. He held weekly collaborative Radiology and Pathology based Tumor Board Meetings regarding the management of women with gynaecologic cancers. He was a medical pioneer who thought ‘outside the box’ by linking the 'boxes'.
From the early 1990’s, Dr McCartney began applying Laparoscopic Surgery to the management of gynaecologic cancer. He published extensively on new techniques. He tirelessly presented both nationally and internationally on the outcomes which include reduced pain and other complications, as well as reduced hospital stay and early return to normal activity when compared to traditional open surgery. The techniques are now widely and increasingly practiced throughout Australia and internationally.
Professor Tony McCartney passed away on the 22nd October 2011. The world was better for his being here, and it is poorer with his passing. May he rest in peace, and may his family find comfort in the gratitude of the many lives he touched and healed.