Dr David Sutherland, an immunologist who treated several hundred patients with HIV-AIDS in Newcastle, passed away last Wednesday in Auckland at the age of 76.
Helen Griffith, the physician's former practice manager, said his passing would be met with "much sadness" from patients.
"He cared. To him, his patients weren't only patients," Ms Griffith said.
Dr Sutherland trained in Auckland, Boston and London before moving to Newcastle in 1984. He was serving as a senior staff specialist and clinical director of Hunter Immunology Unit at Royal Newcastle Hospital when HIV-AIDS arrived in the city.
Ms Griffith said he collaborated with others, including Community Carers Network volunteers and Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar, to respond to the needs of his patients. He delivered hundreds of information sessions to government departments, schools, social groups, brothels and even in pubs to educate people about the disease.
He was appointed as a consultant to the World Health Organisation's Global Programme on AIDS and served as an associate professor at the University of Newcastle and director of the Clinical Immunology Unit at John Hunter Hospital until he opened his own rooms in Broadmeadow in 1993.
A former patient, who saw Dr Sutherland from when he was first diagnosed with HIV in 1985 until Dr Sutherland retired in 2014, said he owed the doctor his life.
"He went to the effort to make people not feel scared about the situation," the Charlestown resident said.
"He never judged anyone."
Dr Sutherland and his wife Ann returned to live in Auckland in 2017.
Sister Annie Laurie and Sandra Berenger are planning a memorial service, to take place in Newcastle before the new year.
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