Tributes paid to Australia’s first paediatric neurologist


11 Dec 2019

Dr Ian Hopkins

Tributes have been paid the Australia’s first paediatric neurologist, Dr Ian Hopkins OAM, who has died at the age of 85.

The Epilepsy Society of Australia said Dr Hopkins, who established neurology services at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, would have an enduring influence on child neurology through his role as an educator, researcher and mentor.

He was the inaugural Director of Neurology at RCH between 1977-1987, and continued working as a senior neurologist there until his retirement in 2002.

“Amongst his many achievements, Ian was instrumental in setting up paediatric EEG, video-EEG and epilepsy surgery services in Melbourne and around Australia,” a statement from the ESA said.

Dr Hopkins was also recognised globally for the syndromes that carry his name i.e. Hopkins syndrome and Pitt-Hopkins syndrome.

“ Ian will be remembered for his astute clinical skills, his warm and caring nature, and his commitment to teaching and research, these personal qualities and achievements being recognised during his lifetime by several local and national awards and honours,” the ESA said.

An obituary in The Age noted that after returning from training in the UK and US, Dr Hopkins became the first paediatric neurologist in Australia in 1968 and for a decade he was the sole paediatric neurologist covering Victoria, Tasmania and southern NSW.

“As a neurologist, Ian was very efficient, being able to quickly identify the crucial information needed to reach a prompt diagnosis in his young patients,” it said.

“While at times this ability may have seemed magical to his colleagues, it simply arose from an exceptional combination of intellectual ability, patient rapport, knowledge and experience.”

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