Well-known Hamilton GP dies

Arthur Wong Doo, 1930-2015.
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Arthur Wong Doo, 1930-2015.

Picture a perfect Hamilton general practitioner: his peers admired him, his patients loved him, and he loved his patients. His name was Arthur Wong Doo. He delivered generations of Waikato babies and removed the tonsils of many of them. He was accessible, multitrained, and thoroughly knew his business. 

Arthur left us on Friday, August 14, taken by cancer. He was 85 and is survived by wife Dulcie and sons Malcolm and Jeffrey. 

Retired general practitioner Dick Clark was one of his oldest friends. They were together at Auckland Grammar and Otago Medical School and both on the staff of Waikato Hospital, Arthur as a surgical registrar before entering general practice. "He was a great guy, a very nice, kind person," says Dick. "He was much loved by patients and people spoke very highly of him – he was a very good man."

Pharmacist Phil Benge, who owned the Five Crossroads pharmacy, met Arthur about 1960. "He walked into the shop and introduced himself as the new general practitioner down the road. He was a great personality and a great doctor with an easy-going temperament. Even before he wrote a prescription for a patient, he or she seemed to feel better just for speaking with him – patients had great confidence in him. He was very caring and put people at ease. He became our family doctor, too."

Arthur was born in Auckland on March 25, 1930, one of six children of Lily and Thomas Wong Doo. His father operated a substantial importing business dealing in textiles, linens and fireworks. His company did fireworks displays throughout the country. Arthur was a third-generation descendant of Thomas Doo, who came to New Zealand from China in 1895. 

An apt pupil, Arthur attended Wellesley Street Primary School and Beresford Street School, and was at Auckland Grammar from 1944 to 1948. He distinguished himself as a scholar, on the rugby field and in athletics, and in his final year was a prefect.

Family say he was conspicuous for his quick wit and intelligence. He had a way of achieving the best from a situation. Arthur made friends easily.

His father hoped one of his children would become a doctor. Arthur was the obvious one. In 1950, he enrolled at Otago Medical School, graduating in 1956. He worked at Rotorua Hospital in his sixth year, then at Waikato Hospital as a house surgeon. He built a reputation and in 1959 became a surgical and orthopaedic registrar. 

In 1960, Dr Denver Calder, of Peachgrove Road, needed a younger partner to join his family practice. It involved general medicine, trauma, paediatrics, obstetrics, deliveries, and ante-natal and post-natal care. Arthur, a stand-out, was an easy choice, and the practice was his career for the next 35 years. He was a lifeline for countless families when illness struck.

Arthur enjoyed his work and the friendships it brought. He delivered countless babies and recalled one new mother thanking him: "Thank you for delivering my baby – you delivered me from my mother 25 years ago!" 

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He had his own health problems in 1993. Quadruple heart bypass surgery was successful.

At 65, he elected it was time to retire for more time with family and his hobbies. Arthur and Dulcie discovered Hawaii. It became an annual holiday destination.

A primary pastime was music. A formidable collection of recordings is to be passed to his four brothers.

A well-used quote for three generations in Arthur's family is, "One's life on this earth is like a blink of an eyelid." The family reflects on Arthur's notable achievements in his 85-year eyelid blink.

Arthur Wong Doo, 1930-2015

 - Stuff

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