Obituary - Dr Robert Duncan McKendrick

Dr Robert Duncan McKendrick

1973 to 2008

Robbie McKendrick was born on July 6th 1973 in St Andrews. His father served in the RAF, instilling an early enthusiasm for aircraft and aspirations to fly fast jets. Robbie spent an early childhood in Germany and USA prior to arriving in Lincolnshire aged 11.

He attended Bedford school before obtaining a first class degree in physiology at Newcastle University, where he met Jess, his future wife. He subsequently achieved a degree in medicine at Manchester University. Student life was to be enjoyed and Robbie did not fail. Holiday work at the pork-pie factory, the daffodil factory and on 'the bins' helped to provide subsidy.

He trained in anaesthesia in the north-west deanery both as SHO and specialist registrar. Intensive care medicine was his favoured discipline and he was part way through advanced training. A couple of weeks before his death he had returned from a charitable trip to India providing anaesthesia for cleft palate surgery.

Within the region, he was well known for his energy and exuberance. However, work was taken seriously, sometimes intensely so, striving to deliver the very best care for each individual under his watch. Any deficiencies were taken personally; if Robbie considered himself responsible he would be immensely self-critical, as those who have observed one of his morbidity & mortality presentations can vouch. If someone else fell short, they would receive at least a glare originating from somewhere beneath his glowering ginger eyebrows.

His fierce intellect was such that consultants and trainees alike embarked on lists with him warily. He would be frequently sent back to the coffee room while his colleagues regathered their thoughts before further inquisition into, say, the intricacies of lactate physiology or his beloved chloride channel. His memory for verse was also impressive; Jabberwocky and Captain Beaky among favourite recitals.

Work aside, he was a gifted sportsman, not least due to a determined competitive will. While he was more than competent at most ball sports, he was a scrum-half of some quality and often left both the opposition and own team bemused by a combination of unpredictability and pace.

Robbie made friends readily with his warm humour and extrovert character. More importantly he and his wife were expert at tending those friendships and enjoyed numerous social circles. At least two marriages have resulted from cross-pollination between such groups. He was excitable and entertaining and many will have a number of daft 'Robbie'’ stories to remember.

Robbie and Jess wed in 2003 and made their home on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Wilbur and Fred were born in 2005 and 2007 and, needless to say, Robbie was devoted to all three. He was killed in road accident on July 15th 2008 aged 35 and is missed greatly by his family and the numerous friends and colleagues whose lives he enriched.