Coming from a family of seamen, he wanted to follow suit and become a ship Captain however, destiny led him to the medical field where his passion and commitment earned him the highest of honours in Fiji and overseas.
Professor of Surgery, Dr Eddie McCaig, who spent 21 years at the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS), is now officially retired.
The renowned surgeon graduated from the then Fiji School of Medicine in 1975 and joined the School as an academic in 1998, where he discovered his love for training students.
The easy-going and experienced medical expert, taught many students as an academic, many of whom who have gone on to become leaders in their respective fields.
One of his former students is the current Dean of CMNHS, Dr William May, who has fond memories of being taught by Professor McCaig. Dr May was taught by Professor McCaig in 1993.
“At the time we rotated through Lautoka Hospital, he was the orthopaedic surgeon and medical superintendent there, that is when I first met him,” Dr May said.
“He is a great teacher and very good in his area of speciality. He has a great passion of teaching students and I think out of everything he will miss, interacting with the students will be at the top of his list.”
“He is now retired but the College will continue to engage him in consultancy and in areas he is most needed,” the Dean highlighted.
Head of School Medical Sciences, Dr Odille Chang, said Professor McCaig’s retirement was a great loss for the School as well as the College.
“As a former Dean and Head of School, and skilled clinician he has contributed greatly to the development of medical education, for both undergraduates and postgraduate medical trainees.”
“He has been instrumental in the development of our current postgraduate clinical training programmes and has contributed immensely to the field of surgery both locally and regionally,” Dr Chang said.
She also thanked Professor McCaig for his enormous and vital contribution and wished him all the best during his retirement.
Fellow Colleague, Professor Rajat Gyaneshwar said Professor McCaig had been an icon for the medical college because he was involved in very strategic times in the School’s development.
“His greatest achievement is the establishment of the College’s Postgraduate programmes which was something that Pacific Health Ministers wanted through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s support.”
“This is an astounding achievement and he is well known in surgical circles throughout Oceania and is regarded very highly by his peers.”
“This means that young surgeons from our medical school will be looked at in a better light due to Professor McCaig’s influence,” Professor Rajat added.
Meanwhile, Professor McCaig also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, commented that he had done all he wanted to do in his professional life and achieved his goals.
“I sit back with pride and I see things are going to continue well with the College and from a surgical point of view, we have trained more than 80 people at diploma level and 40 people in Masters level throughout the Pacific and also in Timor.”
“One of our recent graduates from Timor is now the Head of Surgery there which has a population of 1.3 million people. This means I can now retire with a whole lot of satisfaction,” he said.
Originally from Savusavu, he advised aspiring surgeons that “medicine is a great profession with unlimited possibilities and the world is your oyster”.
Dr McCaig was farewelled by staff at CMNHS at a special event yesterday.