Dr David Stewart Allan passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on 29 March after a short illness while on vacation in Paris. He was born on 8 April 1943 in Vancouver, and attended high school in Port Moody where his father was the principal and his mother taught home economics. He attended the University of British Columbia, receiving his MD degree in 1969.
Following a rotating internship at Vancouver General Hospital he completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at UBC and its affiliated hospitals. He obtained his fellowship and specialty certification in 1973. He joined the staff of the Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) where he quickly became one of its busiest consultants. RCH became his professional home for his entire medical career.
He served on numerous hospital committees, and over the years he completed terms as head of obstetrics, chief of surgery, and president of the medical staff of RCH and Eagle Ridge hospitals. His excellent organizational skills and attention to detail were displayed when he chaired the hospital’s OR Allocation and Bed Utilization Committee.
When regionalization of services was instituted by the provincial government he provided the administrative and organizational support for Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody.
In the early years of his practice he developed an interest in colposcopy and became quite proficient in its use. Along with the late Henry Kelsey he was instrumental in establishing a colposcopy clinic at RCH. Through this clinic he pioneered the use of CO laser therapy for the treatment of preinvasive lesions of the lower genital tract.
More recently he became adept with the personal computer and its applications. Here finally, was a tool that he could use easily to fire off letters, opinions, and comments to various and sundry individuals with virtually no direct cost to himself, something that appealed to his ingrained frugality.
Those fortunate enough to regularly read his blogs and musings on a variety of topics would marvel at how quickly and easily he seemed to reply to our e-mails.
However, what most failed to realize was that these were not casual replies but rather carefully crafted responses that he had written and edited repeatedly before they were sent out.
David Allan was a unique and complex individual. Gregarious by nature he often displayed a mercurial personality. David was intelligent and well read. He was loyal to his friends, who were extremely important to him.
The pedagogical trait was very strong in David. He loved to pontificate and teach, be it with house staff, students, or colleagues. He was particularly proud achieving the rank of clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UBC.
He had multiple interests outside the field of medicine. His main interests were culinary arts, oenology, and travel. Every trip was carefully researched and a detailed travel itinerary was constructed, including where and what menu items to eat.
He had an encyclopedic knowledge of wine obtained after diligent research, including extensive sampling and tasting. He was fascinated about how various gourmet dishes were made and put together. This interest extended to his learning how to cook numerous exotic dishes, and he delighted in including these recipes and their origins in his weekly blog. He also enjoyed collecting and reading all sorts of cookbooks, of which he had a vast collection.
He took an intense interest in his children and their careers and tried to instill in them an appreciation for fine wine and food. He was extremely proud of his Scottish heritage and his annual Robbie Burns dinners were extremely popular events.
There was nothing that he enjoyed more than organizing and conducting various wine tours to California, the Okanagan Valley, and the wineries of the Pacific Northwest. These annual wine tours were extremely popular and attracted a faithful group of participants.
He helped found the D.A. Boyes Society. One of the goals of this society was to establish a strong link between community clinicians and the BC Cancer Agency, ensuring women received optimum, up-to-date therapy for gynecological cancer.
For his colleagues at the Fraser-Burrard Health Region he established and conducted a scientific journal club open to all members of staff of these hospitals. These meetings often featured a guest speaker and were conducted over dinner with a carefully chosen selection of accompanying wines.
David is survived by his wife of 40 years, Melanie Bishop Allan, daughters Karen and Sandra, son Donald, and granddaughter Sarah. He is also survived by his sister Jane.
He will be deeply missed by his family and large number of colleagues and friends.
—J.L. Benedet, MD
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