Advancing paediatric surgery through education and research

Professor Hock Lim Tan Obituary (7th Jan 1949 – 9th September 2022)

On Friday 9th September 2022, Hock Tan passed away at his home in Adelaide after a 4-year battle with cancer.

Hock was a graduate of The University of Adelaide medical school in 1971 and devoted his life to his career, working all over the world including the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, the Royal Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital and most recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Most UK surgeons will have known him when he was at Great Ormond Street Hospital during the late 1990s and early 2000s helping that institution build their minimally-invasive and laparoscopic portfolio.

Hock was certainly a pioneer in the field of minimally invasive surgery and designed many instruments in the early days, with probably the best known being the “Tan Pyloromyotomy Spreader” (Storz). He also performed the world’s first “mini percutaneous nephrolithotomy” for calculi in a child in Melbourne in the early 90’s with bespoke equipment and disposable adapted bladder telescopes, seven years before the “official” American report. Uncommonly, he was also interested in the actual ergonomics of laparoscopic surgery setting the standards for others to follow, and organising training and simulation courses thus, firmly establishing the scientific principles and basis of this field in its infancy.

Engaging and delightful company, and a persistent wearer of exorbitant bow-ties, Hock will certainly be missed by the world-wide community of paediatric surgeons.


Curated by Prof Mark Davenport

Kings College Hospital, LONDON [email protected]

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