Dr Thomas Sidey
(1934 – 2016)
Dr Thomas Sidey (Tom) was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1934, the only child of a former Dunedin Mayor TKS ‘Stuart’ Sidey and a grandson of Sir Thomas Sidey, a Member of Parliament famous for championing the cause of daylight saving in New Zealand in the 1920s.
Tom attended John McGlashan College, where he excelled in many pursuits, including playing the bagpipes, before he went to the University of Otago, graduating with MbChB in 1962. His house surgeon and registrar positions took him to New Plymouth, Timaru and Auckland and then on to England where he gained his Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in 1967. After leaving London, he undertook a three-month locum in Kitwe, one of the major towns in the copperbelt of Zambia, before travelling to Texas, where he worked for six months.
In 1970, he returned to Dunedin and commenced private practice. He became a Fellow of the RCOG in 1980, a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RNZCOG) in 1982 and, following the amalgamation of the Australian and New Zealand colleges, a Fellow of RANZCOG in 1998. In addition to his private practice, Tom worked as a visiting specialist at Dunedin Hospital and Clinical Senior Lecturer with the University of Otago, until his retirement in 1996.
Tom worked in general O&G practice and embraced laparoscopy very early in its development. At a time when it was common for patients to require a number of days in hospital to recuperate from a laparotomy, many of his patients were in and out of the hospital within a day.
In the eight years before he retired, his career reached its pinnacle, following the establishment of his IVF clinic in Dunedin: IVF Otago. IVF was, at the time, an emerging discipline and not yet an established practice. His vision was to bring IVF to the south of New Zealand and, in 1988, IVF Otago became the second service to open in New Zealand, with minimal funding support. Tom’s dedication and perseverance ensured that IVF had a real place in New Zealand’s healthcare; he can be regarded as a true pioneer in what is now an established and well-funded practice. There are now eight IVF clinics in New Zealand.
Tom had a quiet unassuming personality, a gentleman with a calm presence and had the ability to make quick decisions about patient care. He was very well liked by his patients, with many women proud to state that their specialist was Tom Sidey.
Outside of medicine, he bred and raced several outstanding thoroughbreds and was deeply involved in the racing industry administration, being a former president (and life member) of the Otago Racing Club and an executive member of the New Zealand Racing Conference.
In retirement, Tom and his second wife, Diana, moved to Arrowtown where they enjoyed their racing, golf, travel and many friends. Tom’s death in September was very sudden and unexpected, and a sad loss to his extended family and many friends.
Tom is survived by Diana, his three daughters Sue, Anni and Rosie, stepchildren George, Jim and Cate, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren, and his first wife Bridget.
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