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Chris McLachlan

4 April 1962 - 23 Feb 2008

In celebrating her life and achievements, we sadly say goodbye to a wonderful friend and colleague who recently passed away peacefully and with dignity in the Otago Community Hospice.

We would like to acknowledge Chris's valuable contribution and commitment to Dunedin Hospital, the University of Otago, ANZSRS and her profession.

Chris has been a member of ANZSRS for over 10 years and more recently a member of TSANZ. She was passionate about all things Respiratory Science. She started her respiratory career 14 years ago as a research technician in the Otago Respiratory Research Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin. In 1997-1998 & 2003-2005 she worked as an assistant research fellow in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit collecting respiratory health data on a Dunedin birth cohort.

Chris joined the team in the Respiratory Laboratory at Dunedin Hospital in 1996 and became charge Respiratory Physiologist from 2002 up until 3 weeks before she died. This involved varied tasks and accountabilities including leadership, service planning, staff management, quality management, teaching, ensuring quality performance of a full range of respiratory function tests and a key role in the sleep laboratory service. She led the team to gain TSANZ accreditation of the laboratory in Aug 2005 and contributed to the development of the Spirometry Training Course offered by the Dunedin Hospital Respiratory Laboratory. The course has been submitted for ANZSRS endorsement.

Chris's educational achievements include gaining the ANZSRS certification (CRFS) in 2002 and in 2006 she graduated with a Masters of Applied Science (Respiratory Science) with distinction from Charles Sturt University, Australia. Her dissertation was titled Adiposity, Asthma and Airway Inflammation and used the data which she helped to collect from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. She completed this despite a cancer diagnosis and consequent chemotherapy treatment. She presented this work at the European Respiratory Society conference in Munich in 2006 and published it in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology 119(3):634-9, 2007

Presentations at the ANZSRS Annual Scientific meetings (ASM) include a poster in Cairns, 2002; Reference Values for Exhaled Nitric Oxide in both non- asthmatic and well controlled asthmatic populations. For this she was awarded the inaugural Young Investigators Award. She also presented a poster at the Auckland ASM in Mar 2007.

Chris was consulted on numerous occasions by ANZSRS members for technical advice on the measurement of exhaled nitric oxide, a test which has become a routine tool in the Dunedin Laboratory for the diagnosis and management of asthma.

Chris joined the TSANZ/ANZSRS working party on standardizing pulmonary function test reference values across Australia and NZ and contributed normative data collected in the Respiratory Laboratory at Dunedin Hospital.

More recently (Dec 2007) Chris offered to be the interim Regional NZ Representative for the ANZSRS. She participated in the evaluation of abstracts for the ANZSRS Melbourne 2008 ASM.

Chris was also a committee member of the Dunedin Asthma Society until February 2008.

Not only was Chris held in high esteem as a team leader but she also displayed the best regard and empathy to patients. She was a very popular staff member and was always able to think up a good excuse for a social occasion. Her knowledge, motivation and enthusiasm for respiratory science and her spontaneous zest for life will be missed immensely by all the respiratory team at Dunedin Hospital, the Otago Respiratory Research Unit, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, other staff members and allied health professionals in the Otago community and the ANZSRS & TSANZ members with whom she became associated

Sue Filsell and Bob Hancox
Friends and colleagues
Respiratory & Sleep Laboratories, Dunedin Hospital and Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand

 

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