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Vale Dr David Game, distinguished GP and medicSA editor

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Dr David Aylward Game was born in Adelaide on 31 March 1926, the fourth son of a bank manager and a nurse. On 14 May, in his 90th year and having played bridge at the Adelaide Club that morning, he died suddenly at his desk while attending to computer tasks. The table was, as usual, meticulously set for dinner.

David was educated at St Peter’s College, Adelaide, and the University of Adelaide, where on his first day he met fellow medical student Patricia Jean Hamilton. They married immediately after graduation and were the first married couple to receive their MBBS degrees on the same day. In 1953, David commenced general practice from their first home on Payneham Road, but as the family grew to include their four children – Ann, Philip, Timothy and Ruth, they moved to Rokeby in Royston Park.

From his early years as a family doctor, David became an advocate for general practice as a specialty in its own right, a cause which became an abiding passion and the source of great achievement. He was a founding member of the Royal Australian College of General Practice, in which he held a number of key roles, including that of President from 1974 to 1976.

In 1980, he received the college’s highest accolade, the Rose Hunt Award. He represented the College at a number of international meetings, and in 1970 became involved in the formation of the World Organisation of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians, with its somewhat peculiar acronym WONCA, and was its President from 1983 to 1986.

Among the many anecdotes about David’s experiences in these roles with various dignitaries, there is a wonderful story about Prince Philip confusing WONCA with wombat, leading to the establishment of the Honorary Wombat Award for retiring presidents, David’s having pride of place in his office.

David was a pioneer for the involvement of GPs in public and teaching hospital work, holding positions at the Adelaide Children’s, Modbury and Royal Adelaide hospitals. He is the only GP to have been granted an emeritus appointment at the RAH.

Early in his career, he involved students and family medicine program graduates in his private practice, and between 1991 and 1998 was medical director of the South Australian Postgraduate Medical Education Association. In 1983, he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia for service to general practice.

He was a Fellow and Life Member of AMA South Australia, filled many important roles for the SA Branch, and was editor of medicSA from 2004 to 2012, during which time it won the award for best State publication twice. His significant contributions saw him awarded the AMA(SA) President’s Award in 2006.

This exceptionally generous and caring man is greatly missed, not only by his four children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, but by his colleagues and many friends.

In the weeks since his death, tributes have arrived from around the world and, in particular, from his WONCA colleagues in countries including the United States, UK, Singapore, South Africa, Holland, Nepal, India, Jordan and Ireland.

The AMA honours the work of this distinguished South Australian general practitioner.

* This article was supplied by medicSA, where it was first published last month.

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