Robert Buckman

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 02 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7087
  1. Barbara Kermode-Scott

Oncologist, author, teacher, comedian, and television personality

Robert (Rob) Buckman died on 9 October 2011. He was sleeping on a flight home to Toronto from London; he was 63. Although this multitalented Canadian oncologist, author, and media personality had long battled with ill health, his sudden passing was a huge shock for those close to him.

Passionate advocate

Buckman devoted his medical and performing careers to improving patient care. Using his tremendous personality, energy, intelligence, comic talents, medical training, and experience, he worked diligently to help doctors and patients better communicate about medical conditions and terminal illness. Always a passionate advocate for ill, disabled, and dying people, he was renowned for fighting his own physical frailties with a fierce determination and with courage, wit, laughter—and a huge smile.

Peter Buckman, a writer and literary agent, was constantly amazed by his younger brother’s indefatigable energy: “Rob would give freely of his time and offer advice to anyone with cancer—or indeed other medical problems. His energy and achievements, despite his debility, are admirable and exhausting to contemplate.”

He credits his brother with saving his life. “Rob insisted I ask for a colonoscopy after my general practitioner had stuck his finger up my bottom and said there was nothing untoward. It turned out …

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