Dr Kurt Aaron was born in Hamburg in 1909 and died in Brisbane in 1986. After receiving his secondary schooling at the Helmholz Ober-Real Schule in Frankfurt, he attended universities in Munich and Cologne and graduated MD University of Frankfurt in 1935, completing his clinical undergraduate studies at the Städtischen Krankenhaus in Frankfurt. With his widowed mother, Kurt left Hitler's Germany in 1936, studied in Glasgow to qualify LRFP&S (Glasgow) and LRCP LRCS (Edinburgh) in January 1937. He then came to Australia and undertook his internship at the Brisbane General (now Royal Brisbane) Hospital. In 1939 Kurt married a nurse, Miss Sheila Cato, and in time they raised five good-looking children, three girls and two boys.
On completion of his senior residency in 1941 (and after the threat of being conscripted into the Civil Construction Corps in Central Australia) Kurt was directed under government wartime manpower control to a recently vacated medical practice in East Brisbane, and eventually established from that one man practice the South Brisbane Clinic, a group practice of general practitioners and specialists. He was also appointed assistant visiting physician to the BGH at at that time. At the age of 42, Kurt went to Edinburgh where he gained his membership of their RCP. Ten years later in 1961, he obtained the MRACP by examination and in 1971 was elected to Fellowship of the RACP and of the RCP (Edinburgh).
In 1956, by now a senior visiting physician to the RBH, Kurt Aaron was appointed one of the original senior visiting physicians to Princess Alexandra Hospital, newly established as a teaching hospital at South Brisbane. It was there that he displayed his considerable skills in patient care, student teaching, resident training and hospital affairs. He wrote papers on matters scientific; other publications reflected his sensitivity to the importance of emotional factors in the causation of symptoms. He had a particular interest in renal disease, held membership of the Australasian College of Nephrology, and in 1968 was instrumental in obtaining a Kiil dialyser for PAH, as a donation from the Rotarians.
Kurt was considerably involved in workers compensation matters, being the Inaugural Chairman of the General Medical Board of the Workers Compensation Board of Queensland from 1967 to 1979. After his retirement as visiting physician in 1968 he continued to participate actively in hospital affairs, serving on the South Brisbane Hospitals Board from 1974 to 1979, assuming chairmanship of the Princess Alexandra Hospital Society (the hospital's social and educational society) 1972-3, continuing as a committee member 1974 to 1985 and receiving life membership in 1978. In acknowledgement of his unique contribution to the PAH his friends had his portrait painted and hung in the medical staff common room on 18 July 1985. He was the second person to be so honoured.
Outside of medical activities, Kurt was involved in Rotary from 1957, being President in 1963-4. Living in a spacious 'Queenslander' with typical wide verandahs, Kurt and his wife Sheila entertained generously using their home for fund-raising and other community social activities. In 1977 his work both in medicine and in citizenship was recognised with the award of the OBE. Some years before his own death, Kurt was saddened by the loss of his wife. He continued in medical practice until the day before his death. His eulogy was delivered by his long-time colleague, Dr Keith Cockburn, to whom I am indebted for much of the information relating to Kurt Aaron’s early years in this country. Keith Cockburn concluded with these words: 'He was a great citizen, a great father, a great physician and a great friend.'
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