The young doctor killed by a shark in the Whitsundays is being described as a rising star in medicine who always went the extra mile for his patients.
Melbourne doctor Daniel Christidis, 33, died after being attacked by a shark in Cid Harbour off Whitsunday Island on Monday night.
Dr Christidis had worked as a surgical registrar in Victoria’s Western Health service since February, and was training to be a urologist.
Western Health director of surgery Helen O’Connell said Dr Christidis was a rare individual who showed great compassion to his patients.
“I remember one of our patients was quite down, post-operatively. He went and got her a birthday cake,” Professor O’Connell said.
“That’s the sort of guy Daniel was.”
Western Health chief medical officer Paul Eleftheriou said Dr Christidis was a widely loved and respected member of staff.
“We are devastated by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague Dr Daniel Christidis, who was a fantastic doctor, an exceptional character,” he said.
“We spoke to the family this morning and offered our condolences.
“We are offering support to colleagues who are also grieving.”
Dr Christidis was previously a research fellow at Austin Health, where he was working towards a PhD.
Supervisor Dr Nathan Lawrentschuk said Dr Christidis was at the beginning of a big career, and had been earning a solid reputation internationally “as being a very savvy but also hard-working researcher”.
“He was an outstanding individual both as a person and a doctor,” Dr Lawrentschuk said.
“It’s just hard to believe he won’t walk around the corner and be there having a coffee with us at the next meeting.”
Dr Lawrentschuk said colleagues had been in touch with the Christidis family.
“Obviously they’re very distraught and coming to terms with what is a truly tragic event,” he said.
‘We don’t swim here now’
Queensland Water Police travelled to Cid Harbour on Wednesday to warn people against swimming in the area.
Bruce Piggott said he and his wife had been holidaying in the harbour for more than three decades and they had never seen or heard of any attacks until recent months.
“It’s very peculiar we used to swim quite safely in there for about 15 to 20 years – we probably don’t do that much nowadays,” Mr Piggott said.
“It is very odd. Something ecological has happened there to have attracted the sharks. Even fishing, we never used to catch anything like that.”
Mr Piggott said he was confident the sharks were not being attracted by tourists or locals throwing food or fish frames overboard.
“No, most people are really good now. It’s such a change from say 30 years ago when they would have been throwing things over the side,” he said.
He said they were five kilometres away from the attack on Dr Christidis.
“We did pick it up on the VHF, so we knew what was happening. It was pretty scary. We feel really very sorry for the poor gent who was bitten,” Mr Piggott said.