A great friend of East Timor Hearts Fund, Dr Dan Murphy has passed away. Dr Dan was a leading advocate for and provider of free healthcare in Timor-Leste. He was the founder and beating heart of the very busy and important Bairo Pite Clinic, which is an essential free health service for the people of Timor-Leste.
Dr Dan, as he was widely known across Timor was an American-born doctor who had previously worked in Mozambique and moved to Timor-Leste during the Indonesian occupation to provide much needed medical services.
For his work and dedication to the people of Timor-Leste, Dr Dan was awarded the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Prize and the Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste.
He was also a great friend of East Timor Hearts Fund and our medical volunteers who have worked closely with him over many years. Dr Dan was integral to the establishment of East Timor Hearts Fund nearly ten years ago, assisting our co-founders Ingrid Svendsen and Dr Noel Bayley to establish our organisation through his advocacy, to ensure that Timorese patients needing heart surgery had a chance at a long healthy life.
Dr Dan will be greatly missed. Deepest condolences to Dr Dan’s family, colleagues and friends. Obrigadu Dr Dan.
Chief Executive Officer
Statement from Dr Noel Bayley
Today we heard of the sudden, unexpected death of Dr Dan Murphy in Dili. I met Dan some 17 years ago, shortly after beginning work in Timor-Leste. He’d been working there since the last part of the Indonesian times, prior to independence. We forged a professional and personal relationship which has been crucial to my work in Timor, and over the past ten years East Timor Hearts Fund’s work.
Dan was American born and trained, but spent the bulk of his working life in the developing world…Mozambique, and later Timor-Leste. He ran the Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili, providing free medical care to the desperately under serviced of that city, for around 20 years. He was an outstanding clinician and teacher. His cardiac diagnoses, powered only by clinical acumen and a stethoscope, were invariably correct…no mean feat.
He was something of a maverick, indeed proudly so. He took well justified pride in his independence of mind, and in the quality of his clinical work. He was adept at persuading others to provide the support he needed, and as a consequence was able to introduce to Timor-Leste a wide range of diagnostic techniques and treatments previously unavailable, indeed unthinkable. HIV, TB, various malignancies and blood disorders….an astonishing range of therapies in the context of a poor, developing country.
Dan was the powerhouse behind our work in Timor. He referred virtually all the patients for whom we’ve subsequently been able to provide life-saving surgery. He was a good friend, and a great doctor. I’ll miss him badly, as will our organisation. The people of Timor-Leste are devastated, and we join them in their sorrow, but also rejoice in a life well lived.
Dr Noel Bayley
Honorary Medical Adviser