Fuad Michael Audeau was born in Baghdad, Iraq. His father, Michael, a civil servant and his mother, Miriam (nee Hakim) had a total of seven children. He attended The Sacred Heart Primary School and then Baghdad College, a Jesuit High School. Qualifying in medicine from the University of Baghdad in 1957 he was a house officer in the Professorial Unit, Department of Medicine, at the Republic Hospital, Baghdad before moving to the United Kingdom for further training. In 1965 he attended an advanced medicine course in Edinburgh where he met his wife to be, Jennifer Rollie, a registered nurse and fitness adviser. They married in London in 1967. He became senior medical registrar in respiratory medicine and cardiology at the Princess Beatrice and Western Hospitals of the Chelsea and Kensington Group, London, in 1968. His return to Baghdad in 1969 was precipitated by family illness. He took up the posts of consultant physician at the Kadhmiyah Hospital, Baghdad and clinical lecturer in medicine at Baghdad University and also built up a thriving private practice, which would often see him working late into the evening. His clientele included ministers within the government of that time and several ambassadors. He became personal physician to His Excellency the Vice President Ibrahim Douri.
On 22 September 1980, war broke out between Iraq and Iran. Although relations between the two countries had been under strain there had been no indication locally that war was imminent. The family awoke in the early hours to find themselves in the middle of an air raid. Jennifer left with their three young children and, with conditions increasingly difficult, Michael was able to follow afterwards, leaving all their possessions behind. They returned to the United Kingdom where Michael worked as a locum consultant physician prior to securing an appointment at Ashburton Hospital, Ashburton, New Zealand.
Michael proved himself an able physician in a small hospital with limited resources. Shortly after his arrival he wrote a report on hydrogen sulphide poisoning following a major incident at the local freezing works, which was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal (Mar 13 1985 98 (774):145-7). Under his direction Ashburton Hospital contributed patients to most of the international cardiovascular trials of the 1990s including the ISIS, GISSI and GUSTO series and for which he was a principal investigator. Significant numbers of patients were enrolled notwithstanding the size of the hospital. At times running the medical side by himself, Michael stayed at Ashburton and chose to continue working rather than retire, helping the hospital struggle through a time when recruitment of staff had proved particularly difficult with the international shortage of specialists.
Michael enjoyed travelling and attending international conferences. His interests included cars, owning a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow as well as a Mercedes and Jaguar. His brother, Sabah, became Professor of Operational Research at Eskilstuna University in Sweden and his older brother, Faiq, had been a psychiatrist at the Royal Maudsley Hospital, London, and then Baghdad. He had three sons: Basil, a company director in Christchurch; Andrew followed him into medicine, an advanced surgical trainee at the time of his father’s death; Sam, a lawyer specialising in company law.
Michael had increasingly suffered from ischaemic heart disease and had chronic glomerulonephritis. Despite needing coronary artery bypass surgery and more latterly dialysis, he remained active to the end, dying from an acute myocardial infarction on 25th February 2002. His funeral service was held at the Holy Name Roman Catholic Church, Ashburton. The church was packed.
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