Simon Bernard (right) with
Mark Ashton at the first
Course in 2009.

Colleagues were shocked at the unexpected loss of the Co-founder of the MAFAC Course, Simon Bernard, who was the visionary and the driving force behind the original course. Without Simon’s contribution plastic surgeons would not have the benefit of the Melbourne Advanced Facial Anatomy Course.

Simon Bernard, our colleague and fellow Plastic Surgeon died in tragic circumstances from a heart attack whilst skiing on a family holiday in Utah in January 2011. He was 44.

During his short career Simon will be remembered for his enthusiasm, optimism and kind, gentle caring manner.

After graduating from Scotch College in1984 Simon studied Medicine at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1990. He served his internship at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and went on to complete his Junior Resident training in the Royal Melbourne’s Department of Surgery. During this time Simon’s interest in both Plastic Surgery and Plastic Surgical Research crystallized, and Simon entered training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.  At the same time, Simon undertook a Doctorate of Medicine with Professor G.Ian Taylor on the Angiosomes of the Torso, and was awarded his MD in 2009.

After graduation, Simon took up Consultant positions at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Northern Hospital and Werribee Mercy Public Hospital. In his inimitable style, he established a vibrant, chaotic and extremely busy private practice extending over the entire North-Western suburbs of Melbourne. His patients truly loved him.

Most recently, Simon expanded his existing relationship with the Department of Anatomy at The University of Melbourne and together with Mr Bryan Mendelson, established the Melbourne Advanced Facial Anatomy Course. This course aimed to comprehensively explain and educate facial anatomy to Consultant Plastic Surgeons. This was no simple undertaking and involved hours and hours of work, all of which Simon performed in his usual happy, enthusiastic and tireless manner.

Amongst this prodigious workload Simon was devoted to his family. There are many stories, like Simons gift to Julie for her surprise 40th birthday, or the fact the he delayed opening his (successful) RACS examination result envelop until his got home. After-all, he told Julie, getting through this exam was a team effort. And that was Simon, always thinking of others.

Simon’s life was not easy – his father, a GP, was murdered during a home invasion when Simon was young, and twice during his medical training he fought and beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He leaves behind a legacy of quiet determination, of boundless energy and ideas, camaraderie and commitment to the betterment of his patients, his family, his friends and Plastic Surgery. He will be sorely missed.

Simon is survived by his loving wife Julie, and his 3 children, Maddie, Hugo and Max.

Contributed by Prof. Mark Ashton