Alan John McLintic MB ChB, MRCP, FRCA, FANZCA, PGDip Genomic Med: An appreciation

DOCTOR Alan John McLintic, who has died suddenly of chronic heart disease at the age of 62, was consultant anaesthetist at Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland.

He was possessed of substantial quantities of charm, charisma, affability and dry wit. He was modestly eminent in so many areas, and yet could also bring humour to the most mundane of topics.

Understated despite his lottery win in the genetics stakes, he sold his paintings and satirical political graphic art professionally around the world, was invited to speak in as far-flung places as Hong Kong, Europe, and New Zealand, and had many dozens of papers and chapters in international journals and textbooks published under his working name Dr AJ Mclintic on topics as diverse as cardiology, statistics, ethics, and anaesthesia for every sub-specialty.

He was also a brilliant writer on sports such as rugby. He played rugby regularly throughout his school and university days and went on to join GHK where he regularly played in the first XV, meaning he competed in matches against National League Division Two teams in Scotland, the third tier of national club rugby.

His teammates awarded him two of the highest accolades possible: a great tourist and a ‘coper.’

He graduated from University of Glasgow in 1981 and went on to be widely sought both as a writer of articles for journals and as an orator on subjects as disparate as medicine, anaesthesia, scientific theory, ethics and rugby.

In one of his messages to me, he told me that he had been word-perfect for three weeks in a speech he was giving on perceived and actual differences in medicine between individuals of different races. The speech was not for another three weeks. This is how conscientious he was, and yet, after producing a speech or paper lauded by experts in the field, he would be happiest sharing drinks with his oldest friends from every background and profession possible.

He could make people roll around with laughter with his impersonations of Chic Murray, and with his own dry, ironic witticisms.

He was a bon viveur in the fullest sense, enjoying good food and a few drinks with friends all over the world. And he would often travel halfway across the world to see his adored sister Anne, and his closest friends.

Alan was the fittest man I knew, pushing himself to participate in every Ironman and marathon he could. He was as wiry at 62 as he was at 18, and just as sharp mentally.

I once accused him of running up mountains with rocks in his rucksack. His blush told me I was not wrong. He was also in a rock band with four of his oldest school friends, and they performed triumphantly with much bonhomie at his 60th birthday party.

And yet Alan was also supremely at home sharing a bottle of fine wine or a few beers, discussing any subject under the sun.

While you might relax by watching The Apprentice, he would do a quick postgrad diploma in genomics at Oxford or Cambridge, make a dozen new lifelong friends, run twenty miles, then join you for dinner.

We enjoyed many delightful holidays with him in Nice, France, where he would have completed his two hours of swimming and running before we had breakfast, leaving him free to spend the afternoon and evening basking with us in a restaurant in the sun, musing on any subject under that sun.

He was as comfortable discussing Ian McEwan, Brexit, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Trump, philosophy, religion, or medical ethics. He listened intently, in the way that few people now really listen, and would consider for a second or two before responding with a concise sagacity and eloquence few could conjure up in hours, and make you laugh to boot.

He was as accomplished in his rock band and at rugby, swimming, kayaking, teaching, and public speaking as he was at everything else.

He took his duties seriously, making the teaching of juniors lucid but never dry. If asked to produce a presentation for students, rather than regurgitating a chapter in a textbook, he would write something so professional and engaging that he would be asked to present it at meetings worldwide, or have an edited version published in an international journal or textbook.

We sent each other books at Christmas, and you always knew a recommendation from Alan would be compelling. He would make you laugh so much you would inhale your wine and expel it from your nostrils, all the while he was sitting there with that mild smile on his face.

And yet every doctor and nurse who knew him recognised him as being among the best doctors they had ever worked with.

He will be sorely missed. He leaves a beloved sister, Anne, and friends all over the globe.

* By Dr Leyla Sanai MB ChB MRCP FRCA, retired consultant anaesthetist, Western Infirmary and Gartnavel General Hospitals