Coffs Harbor and Armidale retired doctor Mark Henschke dies of injuries after being hit by a truck while cycling

Respected retired doctor Mark Henschke has died after he was hit by a garbage truck while cycling in Coffs Harbor a fortnight ago.

The 72-year-old practiced as a GP and obstetrician for many years in Armidale, where former patients and colleagues have begun to pay tribute.

Nurse Sophie Bailey worked as an undergraduate nurse with Dr Henschke at Autumn Lodge in Armidale.

“Dr Henschke was a kind, considerate and gentle human being, he had so much to give,” Ms Bailey said.

“He took his oath of being a doctor very seriously.”

Ms Bailey remembered Dr Henschke as a steadfast fixture in the Armidale community.

“On the weekend, in his own time, he would come and play his piano accordion as a volunteer thing, and he used to say, ‘I come up here to practice because I figure the residents won’t mind if I play a wrong note or two’,” she said.

Armidale resident Simon Scott recalled Dr. Henschke turning up to the premature birth of his son Fletcher in his tennis whites 19 years ago.

“It was a very hot February Armidale afternoon, he ran in in his whites, got straight into delivery mode and helped deliver a healthy boy,” said Mr. Scott.

Doctor was committed educator

Dr. Henschke retired in Coffs Harbor after spending the last several years of his career practicing there.

He worked at the University of NSW rural campus in Coffs Harbor and the University of New England, mentoring young medical professionals.

A staff memo from the Dean of UNSW Medical School Dr. Vlado Perkovic and the Head of the School of Clinical Medicine Adrienne Torda gave a glowing tribute to one of the university’s alumni.

UNE uni of new england sign
Dr Henschke mentored young medical professionals at UNE and UNSW.(ABC News: Kerrin Thomas)

“Mark was dedicated to improving the health and lives of countless individuals in the Coffs Harbor region and further afield,” it read.

“As a local GP, Mark also had a special interest in children’s health, obstetrics and medical education and his leadership, commitment, and passion in these fields as a clinician has been extraordinary.”

Dr Perkovic said Mr Henschke had been the heart and soul of the Coffs Harbor rural campus since 2009.

“Mark was an inspirational leader to students and staff in Coffs Harbor as well as across the faculty and state,” he said.

“His legacy will live on through the many people he has impacted, and he will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Chris Mostert was another colleague of Mr. Henschke who spoke highly of their time at both UNSW and the Coffs Harbor hospital.

“l’ve really come to appreciate what an exceptional person he was,” Mr. Mostert said.

Mr. Mostert described Mr. Henschke as “humble” and someone who would spend countless hours helping others.

“He would be around four to five days of the week, with his salary of one day a week, and he’d be available to both students and staff for support.”

“Even at the age of 72 he was an intellectual powerhouse to deal with and it was actually quite a privilege to see all that in action.”

Police investigations continuing

Dr. Henschke suffered leg injuries and was flown to the Gold Coast hospital after he was hit by a truck while cycling earlier this month.

Accident scene surrounded by emergency services vehicles
The truck driver who allegedly hit Dr. Henschke was taken for testing by the police after the incident.(Supplied: Frank Redward)

Police were advised on Wednesday he had passed away.

The truck driver, a 28-year-old man, was taken to Coffs Harbor Base Hospital for mandatory testing.

No charges have been laid.

Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash.


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