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 New Zealand

College Roll: Whyte, Alexander Duncan Shanks

Qualifications: MC (1917) MB ChB NZ (1915) DPH (1920) MRCP (1932) FRACP (1938) (Foundation) FRCP (1963)

Born: 15/1/1893

Died: 19/10/1973

ADS Whyte, better known by his nickname `Sandy', was born in Scotland and emigrated to New Zealand with his parents when four years old. His father was a Presbyterian minister of religion. He was educated at Napier Boys' High School and was dux in 1909 and also a member of the Rugby 1st XV. He completed his schooling at the Otago Boys' High School where he won a senior national scholarship. He received his medical education at Otago University Medical School, graduating MB ChB in 1915.

He enlisted with the First NZEF and saw active service in France as a captain with the Medical Corps. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1917 for meritorious service and was wounded in action. After serving as a pathologist with the NZGH at Walton-on-Thames, he returned to New Zealand to join the Department of Health and was MOH at Auckland and Otago. In 1923 he commenced general practice at Hastings. He attended postgraduate studies in Britain during 1931-32 and became MRCP (London) in 1932. He was appointed a visiting physician at Napier Hospital in 1933 and held that appointment until he retired in 1948. He was senior physician at the Hastings Memorial Hospital from 1942 to 1957. He was elected a foundation Fellow of the RACP in 1938 and was New Zealand vice-president from 1954 to 1956. He was president of the New Zealand branch of the BMA in 1956.

Dr Whyte was an outstanding physician of his time. He was extremely kind and courteous to patients, his colleagues and junior medical staff. He was no mean classical scholar and those of us fortunate enough to be his pupils acquired from him not only clinical acumen but also considerable knowledge of the classics, history, the Bible and horticulture, the latter being his main joy in retirement. He married Eva Couper in 1920 and had two daughters, one being killed in the Napier earthquake and the other marrying a son of Sir Edwin Bate. His only son qualified both in dentistry and medicine and was in general medical practice in Hastings. An elder brother, the late David Whyte FRACS, was a respected senior general surgeon at the Wellington Hospital.


References: Munk's Roll, 6, 459; NZ Med J, 1974, 79, 582.