October 2017 | Deireadh Fómhair 2017

Mr Simon Fitzmaurice RIP

Sun, 29 October 17 01:14

The School was deeply saddened to learn of the death of inspirational Irish writer and film-maker Simon Fitzmaurice.  Simon passed away at the age of 43, nine years after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease, a condition that left him paralysed from the neck down but which never dimmed his spirit.

We came to know Simon in 2012 through his participation in our ‘Care in Medicine’ initiative organised by Prof Brendan Drumm and Dr Suzanne Donnelly.  This novel initiative, offered to final year medical students, explored the philosophy and practice of caring and the importance of empathy.  The series featured Dr Pádraig Conway (UCD Vice President for University Relations), Clare General Practitioner, Dr Eamonn Ralph and Simon Fitzmaurice.  Although his health was then considered perhaps the most precarious of the trio, Simon outlived the two other gentlemen and his passing brings a poignant end to this wonderful encounter.

With the support of his wife and care team, over the subsequent six years, Simon came to UCD giving a powerful testimony of his diagnosis and the less than supportive clinicians who suggested that he quietly accept his fate.  But Simon refused to go quietly into the dark and used his energy and determination to produce a memoir (It’s Not Yet Dark) and direct a short film (My Name is Emily) which was nominated for eight IFTA awards.

Dr Suzanne Donnelly, Associate Dean for Programmes and Educational Innovation commented that

“Irish Medical Education has lost an inspirational friend today – the extraordinarily talented and generous Simon Fitzmaurice. 

Simon exhorted UCD Medicine students to ‘make empathy part of a new definition of doctor. He touched and influenced all. His contribution to empathy in education of thousands of our graduates is unparalleled.”

Dr Fergal McGlynn described the teaching session given by Simon as

‘one of the most outstanding sessions during my time at UCD Medicine’.

While we have lost an inspirational teacher and influencer, we are conscious that a young family have lost a husband, father, son, and brother.  We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Ruth, their five children Jack, Raife, Arden, Sadie and Hunter, and to the extended Fitzmaurice family.

My love is undimmed, unbowed, unbroken – Simon Fitzmaurice

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam