Aboo “Ash” Salen Ashfaque Ahmad

Dr Ash Ahmad, Senior Consultant in Radiation Oncology, retired from Royal Adelaide Hospital on 31 December 1998, after an association of over 30 years with the hospital.

Ash trained as a Radiation Oncologist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney between 1962 and 1967.

When he joined Royal Adelaide Hospital as a staff specialist in 1967, there were only two other full-time staff specialists and one visiting staff specialist. Equipment levels were limited to three megavoltage machines (one linear accelerator and two tele-cobalt units), all located at Royal Adelaide Hospital, as there was no private radiation oncology facility. The department was sited in its current premises on level 3 of the East Wing and the Hone Wing, although the link between the East Wing and the Services and Teaching Block had not yet been constructed.

Royal Adelaide Hospital, Radiation Oncology, Ca 1970

Although the incidence of cancer in the population of South Australia was less then, the workload was much heavier for Ash and his colleagues since there was no registrar support for many years and Royal Adelaide Hospital was South Australia’s only radiation oncology facility.

Many of the more ‘mature’ and some less so mature clinicians (including the author of this article), who have worked with Ash, will agree that Ash’s great strength is his ability to work with equanimity, no matter what the circumstances.

In the 14 years that I have worked closely with him, I have never known Ash to utter any harsh words even in the circumstances of extreme provocation.

Although no longer fashionable, I cannot think of a more fitting way of characterising Ash’s work at Royal Adelaide Hospital than to say that many people, not least his patients, were touched by his gentlemanly manner.

Written By EK Yeoh, Director, Radiation Oncology, Vital Signs Newsletter, Vol 8, No1, April 1999