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LUKA RANDIĆ 11 SEPTEMBER 1978 – 11 MAY 2008


LUKA RANDIĆ


IN MEMORIAM 11 SEPTEMBER 1978 – 11 MAY 2008

“From the first day I saw Luka I used to call him Ljudina.” – Peđa

In Croatian “Ljudina” is a more than a word. It is a concept difficult to translate into English: dictionaries often translate it as “a big man” – but this should not just be taken in the literal, physical sense. In Croatian its meaning incorporates the kind of person who, in English, might be described as “a great man”: someone of stature, reliable, someone to lean on; a man of honour, compassionate, a man of integrity; someone you can be proud to call your friend.

LJUDINA


LUKA RANDIĆ


Luka Randić worked as a Specialist Registrar in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care in the Northwestern Deanery. He was widely recognized by his colleagues to be an exceptional trainee and to have outstanding potential to become a highly influential Consultant in Emergency Medicine. As an Emergency Physician, Luka’s notable attributes included his ability to calmly and efficiently deal with any scenario in the Resuscitation Room. He was known for his compassionate approach and his appreciation of both the science and the art of Emergency Medicine. The specialty of Emergency Medicine was dealt a heavy and lasting blow when, at the age of 29, Luka was tragically killed in a road accident on 11 May 2008. The Luka Randić Medal will be awarded annually in his memory to the North-West trainee with the highest overall performance in the examination for the Fellowship of the College of Emergency Medicine. Luka’s family, friends and colleagues wish for this award to be given to those rising stars of Emergency Medicine with the same tremendous potential as Luka had himself. They hope it will inspire the recipients to achieve, in their careers, the great things that Luka inevitably would have, had his life not been cut so tragically short. We hope that you will take the time to read some of the testimonies from those who had the privilege to know Luka.


LUKA RANDIĆ


SOME OF LUKA’S THOUGHTS ON MEDICINE An extract from Luka’s personal statement, UCAS 1995 Medicine to me is more than just a science, it is an art [...] it is a detailed examination of the most complex and beautiful form known to man – the human body [...] scientific method is an indispensable tool, which if ignored can destroy patients and sometimes the doctors themselves. It is the creative ability and the scientific knowledge of the doctors, together with their decision-making, that is of real value to patients and therefore to society as a whole. To me this skill of application is part of the core of medicine.

Extracts from Luka’s Elective Report Kenya, March 2001 Death is looked upon very differently in Kenya. In the West people come to their doctor and expect to be cured. If they aren’t cured it is someone’s fault and it is considered a failure. In Africa death is part of life. When you die you become one of the ancestors.


The attitude to pain is very different as well. The pain threshold is either very much higher in the developing world, or here in the West we have no other worries so our pain is exaggerated to abnormal levels. People there put up with pain as part of normal life. Childbirth is an amazing and beautiful experience in the developing world […] when compared to the delivery suites on top of St. Mary’s. There is no screaming and swearing as if the world is about to end – it is still painful but it seems a more dignified way for a new life to begin. People go to the hospital as a last resort – for many reasons, lots of them cultural but probably mainly because they cannot afford it. So generally when they arrive they are very ill, and the mentality of both the patient and the relatives is that they are either going to die or live. Sometimes it was very difficult being the only doctor there and being the first at the scene. Lots of the children and babies died regularly from cerebral malaria and meningitis. On average we probably had one child die every day. This was a big shock for me because in the UK it is very unusual for little children to be dying, especially at that rate. The difficult part is when you are the only one around and the nurses come to get you because the child has stopped breathing. [….]. It is very difficult to try to resuscitate small children with their mothers standing over you especially when you know that there is very little that you can do. That was the hardest thing about this elective.


The sheer numbers of children dying and you are completely helpless. It is horrific. All you can do is stand and watch them die right there, 10 centimetres away from you – knowing all the while that if they were in a western hospital the majority would live. I learnt that it is a lie that it gets any easier, the more kids you see die, the more frustrating it is. We in the West seem to be a little over sensitive about cleanliness. Everything is “single use only” and then thrown away. African hospitals cannot afford that, so most things are bleached and kept as clean as possible. […] the wards and most of the hospital settings would be considered unsafe by our public health systems. This is mainly to do with the unavailability of clean running water but also with the hot climate where there is no air conditioning so windows need to be kept open. The patients don’t seem to be getting more infections and are still recovering from their illnesses. I believe there is a fine medium between African improvisation and western over-cleanliness. There were amazing positive experiences that I will never forget. One night at around 3am I was called to see a 6-year-old girl who had a severe asthma attack. Western drugs and delivery systems used for asthma are too expensive for most of Africa, so they are not available. The standard treatment is adrenaline injections and aminophylline infusion. This girl was severely ill and was not getting any better on those. I had some salbutamol inhalers (I have asthma myself) and so went home and made a spacer device out of


a large plastic bottle and got her to breathe through that with the inhaler on. She got better relatively quickly and that might have saved her life. Experiences and situations like this teach us to use our heads and improvise when we don’t have everything that we might want available. My experience in Africa was very fulfilling both on a personal and medical level. I experienced the very different lives of rural people in a less fortunate country and the difficulties they face throughout life. There are many different ways that we can care for our patients and the best way really depends on the patient and their circumstances and not the latest research paper. Many doctors would criticise the ways things are done in Africa but the most important lesson everyone needs to learn that is that all we can do is our best and that we are here to heal and not cure. My experiences both initial and then later on, were very unlike what I had expected. I was stunned by the standard of care that a man in this part of the world would receive during a hospital admission, and saddened by the impact in terms of debt or bereavement faced by the his family. In a traditional Kenyan farming family illness has far-reaching consequences, well beyond the emotional ties that link the family. I was amazed also to encounter such resignation and acceptance of both sickness and death – for a Kenyan mother, the untimely death of her baby is just


one of those sad facts of a harsh life. I realised that my assumptions about patients, and the doctor-patient relationship I knew had no place in Kenya. My model of healthcare had to readjust itself to all these differences. All of us, whether working in a teaching hospital in Manchester or a rural mission hospital in Africa, always struggle to do our best. It just so happens that our best, the best that we can do for the patient is different depending whether you are in Manchester or a developing country. The standard of care is not any less in Africa – it is just different. I plan to go back to Africa in the future to work ideally on a voluntary and humanitarian basis, and would truly recommend an elective in rural Africa for any doctor.


LUKA RANDIĆ


BIOGRAPHY Luka Randić was a ‘one off’, a ‘rising star’ of Emergency Medicine, a Croat with a Californian driving licence and a grin from ear to ear. Even at medical school, Luka stood out. Apart from being taller than many of his fellow-students, his apparently carefree demeanour, sense of humour and engaging grin belied a maturity beyond his years. Born in Zagreb on 11 September 1978, Luka and his family fled the wars during the break-up of former Yugoslavia. His father found employment as an engineer in San Jose, California. His mother enrolled to take a graduate degree at the University of Sussex. He and his mother settled in Lewes. Luka was 13 years old. Although still very young, he cherished his freedom and did not consider his life as that of ‘an immigrant’. Shy and modest, he gently claimed his right to work diligently to make a full contribution to society. His adaptability and openness won him acceptance and friends wherever he went. He attended Priory School and Brighton College before obtaining a place at the Manchester Medical School in 1996. As a student Luka was committed. His undergraduate project on Burns Major Incidents with Kevin Mackway-Jones and Simon Carley helped shape national guidelines. Determined to ‘make a difference’


to the lives of Africa’s rural poor, he chose to spend his elective in a remote, busy hospital in the Kenyan bush. His proudest moment was treating a young girl’s asthma with his own Salbutamol inhaler and a plastic bottle as a spacer. The experience shaped his beliefs about human existence and suffering. After qualifying in 2001, Luka’s practical and enquiring mind stood him in good stead during his training at various hospitals in and around Manchester and the North West. It was after his House Officer post in A&E at the Royal Preston Hospital under Mark James that he embarked upon a career in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care. His last position, as Specialist Registrar in Emergency Medicine at Manchester Royal Infirmary, provided ample opportunities for developing the evidencebased knowledge and rapid assessment skills, which made him a ‘safe pair of hands’ despite his youth. Pragmatic and unflappable, he inspired confidence in his patients and respect in his colleagues. Only Luka could stroll (smiling, always) into Resus in the dead of night and bestow an air of calm on the most desperate of situations. The road bike parked in the Registrar’s Office provided a clue to Luka’s leisure activities. Apart from braving the Manchester rush hour on two wheels, he loved outdoor challenges. Rock climbing, mountain biking, water polo and rugby – his sporting interests were many and varied. From a rainy weekend climbing Snowdon to a snowy one skiing in the French Alps or the Californian Rockies, Luka’s energy for life and eagerness for new experiences were boundless. He


was an enthusiastic traveller, exploring the far corners of his adopted home country as well as venturing farther afield to other parts of Europe, America and Asia. Luka just stretched out his long legs and was at ease anywhere in the world. Compassionate, inquisitive, fearless, Luka was on track to becoming one of the few truly great doctors most of us can only admire; and yet, for many, it was his integrity, patience and irrepressible laughter which set him apart.


LUKA RANDIĆ


LUKA AS A DOCTOR “Emergency Medicine is a peculiar specialty. First of all there are the problems we have to deal with – everything from sprained ankles to heart attacks. Every day we see people die; every day more people would die if we weren’t there. Secondly, there is the fact that people can’t really see the work we do. All day long we take complaints about the waiting time. Hearing ‘thank you’ is very uncommon. Our greatest results are achieved for people who are too sick to know what happened. This is never more apparent than in those critically ill patients who need the skills and expertise of a doctor trained in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care.” Rick Body Consultant in Emergency Medicine Manchester Royal Infirmary

“I know Luka was held in high esteem by us all and am certain that he would have gone on to be a star in our specialty.” Kevin Mackway-Jones Professor of Emergency Medicine


“Once every now and then a truly exceptional talent enters our training scheme. Luka was that person. An exceptional person, a great doctor, and a muchmissed colleague.” Jimmy Stuart Clinical Director North Manchester General Hospital

“Luka was known to me since he was a fourth year medical student. Even then we knew he was something special and we were delighted that he chose a concern in emergency medicine. As a doctor, he had that rare ability to work calmly, effectively and safely in a clinical environment that many found too taxing to cope with. Many of our juniors were helped enormously by his support and calm demeanour and many remember chaotic situations being instantly calmed when he arrived. When he returned to MRI, it was fantastic; we knew the department would run well and that patients would be safe when he was around. There was more than that though. Luka constantly challenged dogma and tradition, making all of us stop and think about our practice. Many changes, to the benefit of the patients, came from such questions. He was able to do this, to question and consider in a neutral, nonconfrontational way – a skill very few clinicians have. Luka is still remembered at MRI and continues to influence training in the present. He continues to feature in the learning of new doctors in the speciality as shown in the blog post from the online


learning management system at St.Emlyn’s. An extract from the St. Emlyn’s blog: stemlynsblog.org/how-to-cope-when-your-registrarknows-more-than-you-do/ How to cope when your registrar knows more than you do. A few years ago… Resus. 2300 hours. A man in his 60s is brought to the ED looking pretty sick. He is normally fit and well but has had a cough for the last week, becoming breathless over the last 24-36 hours and finally collapsing at home. On arrival to the ED he is in full blown sepsis secondary to a nasty looking pneumonia. Obs? He looks sick!!! Heart rate is 110, BP 100/50, Resp rate 32, GCS 12. From memory gases were roughly… FiO2 60-80% (Hudson) pH 7.26 pCO2 8.1 pO2 7.3 BXS -6 Lactate 5.4 Fluids have been started, antibiotics given and preparations are made for the induction of anaesthesia to secure the airway. I draw up the following and brief Luka, my trainee, on how I want him to give the drugs... Etomidate 20mg Suxamethonium 200mg Fentanyl 50mcg Metaraminol (just in case)


Luka pauses and asks…. “Are you sure you want to give these drugs to that patient?”

However, the amazing learning that can be gained from trainees can only be realised if they feel willing and able to share. In my original case this was aided by Luka’s exceptional personality. A mix of laid back style, confidence and powerful intellect. He had no fear of sharing ideas in a non-confrontational way, but this is not something that comes easily to everyone. There are many reasons for this, many related to the concepts of authority gradient or power distance that prevent juniors from speaking up and correcting those that they perceive as their senior. I’ve used the memory of Luka in this post because I still think of him and the contributions he made to Emergency Medicine. For me he had the characteristics of the best sort of trainee. Hardworking, honest, bright and dedicated to making EM better. He challenged me to be a better educator and to value the contributions of trainees as much as I do now. The subject of Etomidate came up at a point in my career when I was just starting to be being considered an established consultant, a little too far away from the trainees to be part of their social group, too far away to have ever worked with them at the same grade. It was and still is an interesting time. The conversation described above was the last one I ever had with Luka. I, like all those who knew him still miss him and regret that we lost a colleague who


would have been a great emergency and critical care physician. Luka the doctor will be missed by all of us. Luka the person will be missed more than words can say. I have no doubt that he would have gone on to be a superb consultant and a fantastic colleague. Simon Carley Professor of Emergency Medicine Manchester Royal Infirmary

Luka must have saved many, many lives. If they had been counted the list would no doubt run even so long as the lists of Schindler’s List. His experience belied his young age and he spoke with authority on so many medical matters, demonstrating a tremendous depth to his knowledge. Likewise Luka brightened the lives of many more people. He was a compassionate and sympathetic doctor, always approachable and caring. One of the nurses recalled a time when we had a seriously unwell seven-year-old girl with heart disease. Several doctors had tried unsuccessfully to place a drip so that the child could have potentially lifesaving treatment, with the result that she was very distressed. Luka sat down and talked calmly with her about her best friends at school until she felt at ease. When he had gained her trust and helped her to relax he successfully sited the drip so that her treatment could begin. Everybody liked Luka. Since I have known him I


have never heard anyone utter a single bad word about him, not ever in anger or frustration (and that certainly abounds in the intense environment of emergency medicine). Luka was always calm, always friendly and always polite. He played football with us on Wednesday evenings. There he may not have had quite the same brilliance as he did in emergency medicine, but he played the game with such verve, in a spirit of fair play and with a smile on his face. I won’t forget watching England’s football team beaten comprehensively by Croatia with Luka, accepting his condolences and expressions of disappointment only to learn later of his Croatian roots! How many people would have basked in that glory and relished the opportunity to tease the losers? Not Luka! Luka was a young man with great strength of character and integrity. Though his life was cut so tragically short it was an unequivocal and abounding success both at work and with his friends. Unlike Schindler, there will probably be no box office films made about Luka. His achievements will probably not make news headlines. But we know of his excellence and we can testify to his great success. The enduring impact that he has upon us, his friends and colleagues, is no small part of his legacy.� Rick Body Consultant in Emergency Medicine Manchester Royal Infirmary

How many people now have their lives, limbs, or


sight, who otherwise wouldn’t were it not for Luka’s care in the ED and on ICU? A short life, but a big one. I knew Luka from his considered and lucid contributions to numerous online discussions on Doctors.net.uk. Often starting new topics, always on top of the latest literature, and always passionately patient-centred and standing up for his emergency medicine brothers and sisters. But unlike many of those we debated with, he was never rude, personal or dismissive of others’ views. It was therefore a privilege to meet this kindred spirit at the Harrogate Intensive Care Conference in 2007. This was a time when I was one of a small handful of doctors working in both intensive care and emergency medicine, and when Luka announced that it was his intention to carve a similar path, I remember feeling the glow of reassurance that the future of what is now popularised as ‘ED-critical care’ was in such competent hands. In preparing this tribute I re-read many of Luka’s old Doctorsnet posts. He espoused ideas and models of care that appeared revolutionary at the time but are considered optimal care now, or are just beginning to see the light of day in some hospitals. Some of the other names in the threads he clearly influenced (and frequently started) have blazed the ED-critical-care trail. It is inconceivable that they were not at least in part influenced – and perhaps swayed in their career choices – by Luka. We are all here for a short time. Like pebbles tossed in a lake, the ripples we leave in the water last so


much longer than the pebble’s flight. Our lake is richer for Luka’s ripples, which continue to lap at the lives of the patients he saved, their grateful families, and the emergency medicine and critical-care community he proudly served. Thank you, Luka. Cliff Reid Director of Emergency Medicine Training Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, New South Wales, Australia

The first time I worked with Luka was probably just under a year ago. He was called down to the resus room and we worked together on a young girl who had taken a life-threatening overdose. After stabilizing her she had to be transferred out to Wigan. So there we both were, transferring this ventilated young girl in the back of a blue-light ambulance at close to 60mph on the motorway, when all of a sudden the monitor battery went dead. I had foolishly plugged in the suction unit instead of the monitor and the power had failed. So, like a madman I started running around the back of a moving ambulance, trying to sort it. Luka sat there with a finger on the girl’s pulse and started laughing, making me realise my error and restoring the battery power! That was just an example of Luka’s calm, consistent manner and his excellent sense of humour! I unfortunately only had the opportunity to get to


know Luka on a professional level in the past year but I have never known anyone gain so much respect and popularity in this A&E department in such a short space of time. He wasn’t fazed by targets; he wouldn’t tolerate abuse; he was just always there for his patients and colleagues and had an amazing ability to gain a rapport very quickly. I will always remember him in the resus room with his legs crossed alongside his sick patients because that’s where he was at his best. Chris Jones, Staff Nurse Accident & Emergency Manchester Royal Infirmary

My overwhelming memory of Luka at work was his ability to adapt to all situations, once performing a canthotomy (successfully) after watching a video of how to do it on a horse! His only comment was that next time he’d use some local anaesthetic! I was in awe of his clinical abilities, his adaptability in extreme situations and his handling of patients. More than that he was a great man. I just feel lucky to have known him. Alison Robinson Specialist Registrar in Emergency Medicine Blackpool and Victoria Hospital He made such a huge and lasting impression both as a doctor and as a man. His compassion was second to none, his knowledge and skills were extremely impressive and he made work easy for everyone. He


put patient care far above politics and respected all the people he worked with equally, irrespective of who they were or what job they performed. It was a complete privilege to work with Luka and an honour to have known him and call him a friend, albeit for a short period of time. Nigel Gillen A&E Staff Nurse Manchester Royal Hospital

Even as a junior SHO at Wythenshawe Luka managed to radiate calm and competence. He managed to make even a run of seven nights cheerful and constructive. Kristy Challen Specialty Registrar Emergency Medicine Royal Preston

I worked with Luka in Preston last year. It was always good to know that he was the Registrar in charge, as one would know that the department would be well run, and fun. He always seemed to exude an air of calm and impeccable professionalism with patients and with us as colleagues. I had a lot of respect for the man, and learnt much from him. It’s nice to know that my practice as a doctor now includes some of the lessons I learnt from Luka. He rocked! There is one situation in particular I recall, where we were on a late shift, and a patient had come in with


a bleed into his eye socket and we had to relieve the pressure of the blood, so we could potentially save this man’s eyesight. The specialist eye doctor was going to be a while, so we had to crack on with an organ-saving procedure in a cubicle in accident and emergency!! I assisted Luka whilst we cut part of the eyelid so close to the eyeball, both of us were quite concerned about the gravity of the situation, but Luka was calm and collected and the patient didn’t feel the stress of the scenario. Finally the job was done, and after that, Luka told me he had only read of this procedure before! Luka was different and great. Dr Zurqa Rasul

I met Luka as a young boy who loved to swim and ski. In1994, during his summer holiday, he was an enthusiastic volunteer at our nephrology-dialysis practice in Dinkelsbühl in Germany. It was his first contact with patients and clinical staff. Luka’s role was to help immobile patients with transport, food intake, preparation of materials and machines for dialysis; he carried out the various tasks with impeccable care and a smile on his lips. Although he spoke very little German, he was popular with the patients who asked for him and always wanted the nice young man to check their blood pressure. He was only 16 years old at the time, but he had already made a firm decision to pursue a career in medicine. He was a born doctor. Genuine, humane and charismatic are the words which spring to mind when describing Luka. He


supported the concept of a humane medicine for all who need it. Unfortunately, many patients have been deprived of Luka’s medical attention all too soon. Dr. med. A. Stefovic-Fuchs Family friend from Croatia


LUKA RANDIĆ


AS A PERSON AND FRIEND From the first day I saw Luka I used to call him Ljudina. That was a long time ago, in 1993, when he was still at secondary school. Whenever we met, he was always calm, friendly and smiling. He will always be ‘a Big Man’ for me – big in heart, thoughtful, considerate and warm. A kind of person you would instantly like and respect. Peđa

Luka was simply an all-round wonderful person, an exceptional young man, and I loved spending time with this kind-hearted and easy-going Croatian import! We first got to know each other through Lewes Swimming Club, where our easy friendship was forged. Looking (and sounding) several years older than the rest of us, Luka clearly benefited from his considerable stature to make most of us look quite ordinary as he nonchalantly pounded his way up and down the pool (even with his asthma!). It was easy to make an instant connection with Luka. His benevolent nature and strength of character always showed through and ensured he made friends quickly and easily, winning people over with his unique brand of relaxed humanity. His positive outlook was almost as infectious as his inimitable laugh, and a chat


with Luka would often help me see the sunnier side of things. Growing up, I always looked up to Luka (quite literally). From an early age his moral compass was spot on and he had an instinctive ability to see the right and wrong in whatever he was confronted with: he employed reason, knowledge and science to inform his decisions, rather than prejudice and suspicion. He wanted to discover facts and experiences for himself, to make up his own mind, and to learn and experience for himself the things he thought he knew or had been told in school. It’s easy to see how these qualities helped make him a superb young doctor. Whilst Luka certainly knew how to have fun, I will always remember him as one of the most decent, humane people I’ve ever known. Combined with his hard work, determination and natural talent it was clearly obvious how much of an impact Luka had already made – and would have continued to make – in medicine and helping to improve people’s lives. Excellence seemed to come naturally to Luka, but in an understated and almost effortless way – he was admirably modest about his talent and achievements, which in the end always spoke for themselves. Luka was very much his own man. Sam

Luka was one of my all-time favourite people. We spent a lot of time together as teenagers and had some really great times. His capacity to enjoy himself was unrivalled and in this respect, as in all others, he


was utterly determined. He rose above, and would not be brought down by, adolescent irrelevancies. He was by far the most human and mature of everyone I knew at that time. His fondness for ideas and character made him really wonderful company as an adult, and we were always thrilled to see him. He lives on in my heart as someone who was hugely important in my younger life and someone who I continue to love and admire. Alice

I first knew Luka when he came to Sussex as a young boy of 13. He grew into a mature young man, soft spoken and warm hearted – a well respected medical doctor and a role model for the children of our colleagues. Luka’s selflessness, empathy and compassion are the qualities that I will most remember and miss about him. Luka was special because he had an instinctive understanding of people and situations and he always acted with kindness. This was a rare quality in someone so young. I believe these qualities also drew him to study Medicine and Emergency Medicine in particular. He once told me that he wanted to study Emergency Medicine because this was one of the few specialties where timely intervention could make the visible difference between life and death. This compassion for life and for people, combined with his boundless energy, also helped him to use his incisive intellect in a constructive way – not for personal vanity and medals, but for a useful larger purpose, such


as the hospital he planned to help in Malawi. Suma

He was fascinated by the world around him; he wanted to help people. That’s why he chose the career he did, why he excelled at it, and why he was planning his trip to Africa. I remember Luka talking about becoming a doctor from early on. He was doing what he always wanted. Luka was a rationalist. When I knew him best he believed in knowledge and science, not religion and magic. I don’t think that changed much. Chris

I first met Luka over 11 years ago at our first tutorial at medical school here in Manchester. He was modest and laid back, and never let on how he had triumphed against adversity since coming to England from Croatia. Having known Mirko and Žiža for many years it is obvious that his achievements were not by chance alone. This cannot have been easy, having left Croatia due to the war and having to separate to provide a future for him. Aside from his views on dyslexia Luka had many, many observations on life in general and particularly English culture. In particular Luka believed he was a supertaster. He had read an article on people whose sense of taste was superior to other people’s. Of course Luka came to the conclusion he was one of


these people. How or why he came to this conclusion we never knew. Despite these humorous aspects to his personality, Luka was a caring friend who kept his emotions to himself and rarely let on any personal problems he may have. We spent many happy hours cycling round the hills surrounding Manchester chatting. Doug

What will the telemark skiers of the world do now? Our annual ‘tip a tele’ contest was seriously hampered this year by Luka’s height, skill on skis and superior snowball fighting technique – always with a beaming smile, even when his extra-long skis got him jammed in a steep couloir. Emma Shrriff

Stuff like this wasn’t supposed to happened to us; we fixed things, we sorted people out, we took our opportunities and lived lives that were full. We were indestructible, or so I thought, especially you. Big, solid, unchanging even if I did not see you for months…. It’s hard not to think about what we have lost: the adventures that might have been. Better, though, if I say this: while you were here, you were my good friend, and my life was richer for having known you. Dan


To my lost friend. I remember you, Luka, as a student. We had some great times at the climbing wall and outdoors, where we trusted each other as climbing buddies, too. Now through meeting your family and friends, I am discovering who you became. And I am so impressed and at the same time I am not surprised. You were special since I knew you, and it seems that just grew and grew. I know you lived a lifetime while you were here and everyone who met you seems to have been inspired to draw more from their own life too. It’s not surprising that your work was literally to help people in life and with life. And for me you live on by your example of humility and kindness and fun that you showed in life. Baz (Mark)

I first met Luka in 1998. Over the next decade we saw each other through medical school finals, the infamous House Officer years and membership exams, sharing the highs and lows along the way. We were young and thought nothing impossible: we travelled the world and tried new foods and new sports (I have Luka to thank for introducing me to triathlons); we had so many plans. Luka was a kind and caring friend. He always had time for other people’s problems and you could rely on him: he always knew the right thing to do! He was pragmatic about life, and although careful about his own finances, he was deeply generous. I was as impressed with his maturity as I was proud of the great clinician I saw him grow into over the years. He


questioned accepted fact and debated with colleagues both at work and online (he was a formidable presence on the DNUK Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care fora): always striving to be better – no, to be the best doctor his patients could ask him to be. Luka had a mischievous side too, and an almost childlike sense of humour. He would bellow infectiously and rock when he laughed, often pausing only to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye; he loved all comedy, whether highbrow or slapstick. Luka was in his element outdoors and was intuitively good at sports. He had some idiosyncratic ideas about diet, though, including a penchant for anything related to chocolate (and cherry yoghurt), often preferring these to more traditional meals – a breakfast favourite was a pot of Nutella served with a spoon! Convinced that his superior Croatian genes had granted him skin resistant to UV radiation, he eschewed the niceties of sun block – even after a miserable night following a day snorkelling in Phuket, which seriously challenged that medical theory! He is sorely missed, by so many people. All those who knew and loved him will remember him their own way, as I do: eating Nutella with a spoon, climbing Snowdon once a year or taking on another new challenge. Luka inspired many of us to try to do better and to be better, lessons I will continue to hold very dear. Helen


LUKA RANDIĆ


SONG OF THE REDWOOD TREE Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Farewell my brethren, Farewell O earth and sky, farewell ye neighboring waters, My time has ended, my term has come. (…) You untold life of me, And all you venerable and innocent joys, Perennial hardy life of me with joys ’mid rain and many a summer sun, And the white snows and night and the wild winds; O the great patient rugged joys, my soul’s strong joys unreck’d by man, (For know I bear the soul befitting me, I too have consciousness, identity, And all the rocks and mountains have, and all the earth,) Joys of the life befitting me and brothers mine, Our time, our term has come.


Nor yield we mournfully majestic brothers, We who have grandly fill’d our time, With Nature’s calm content, with tacit huge delight, We welcome what we wrought for through the past, And leave the field for them. (…) Here may he hardy, sweet, gigantic grow, here tower proportionate to Nature, Here climb the vast pure spaces unconfined, uncheck’d by wall or roof, Here laugh with storm or sun, here joy, here patiently inure, Here heed himself, unfold himself, (not others’ formulas heed,) here fill his time, To duly fall, to aid, unreck’d at last, To disappear, to serve.


LUKA RANDIĆ


LINKS BMJ Obituary www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b2960

Old Brightonians Obituary www.oldbrightonians.com/news/news-fromobs/luka-randic-l.-1994-96.html

Web memory Info on the Memorial Bike Ride in May Snowdon hike in September Lewes walk in September luka.instantglobe.com/

Info on the Luka Randic Medal stemlynsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/ 04/emjsupp-30-S2.pdf


LUKA RANDIĆ


LUKA RANDIĆ MEMORIAL AWARD AWARDED 2012 Sarah Stibbards Consultant Emergency Medicine – Salford



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