A lasting legacy

Over the last few days, I have been outraged by the amount of media coverage given to a certain crass, visiting chef from England who appears to spend all his time abusing, berating and bullying unsuspecting individuals. Perhaps he should stay in the kitchen and exert his energy into developing the gastronomy for which he is allegedly world-famous!

I wonder if the media attention and resultant spin would have been less intense had the recipient of one particularly nasty verbal tirade not been a well-known TV presenter. Even the Prime Minister got in on the act, describing the offensive remarks as “reflecting a new form of low life”.

Fortunately the antics of the foul-mouthed “arrogant narcissist” did not completely overshadow the more significant yet extremely sad news item of the week – the death of renowned Sydney surgeon and cancer specialist Prof Chris O’Brien, who succumbed to the disease he spent so much of his life fighting to cure in others.

Prof O’Brien, known as the people’s surgeon, was described as as a remarkable man with outstanding surgical skills. Tributes flowed in from around the world not just from fellow medical professionals, but from former patients and everyday men and women who had been profoundly impacted and touched by his genuine warmth, compassion and respect for others.

At his state funeral the Prime Minister,Kevin Rudd described Prof O’ Brien as a “visionary” who “got inside not just the head of the nation but the heart of the nation”. Mr Rudd said that Prof O’Brien led by example. “Lives such as these have a single distinguishing feature. They cause the rest of us to change. Chris O’Brien was such a man,” he said.

Two very different stories making the Australian headlines this week: two very contrasting individuals. I have no doubt which one will leave the greater legacy.


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