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Published: 00:01, 11 January 2013 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
by Gerry Warren
The sudden death of a 38-year-old doctor at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital has shocked his family and colleagues.
Father-of-two Dr Ashley Cooper was one of the most respected consultants in dermatology in the country and saved the lives of numerous patients with skin cancer.
He suffered a cardiac arrest in the night at his family home in Bridge, near Canterbury. His wife Clare tried to revive him before paramedics arrived.
Dr Cooper, pictured left, was rushed to hospital, but despite the valiant efforts of intensive care staff he never regained consciousness and died six days later.
Tests are being undertaken on what caused his heart to fail and an inquest into his death has been opened.
His two children, Genevieve, nine, and eight-year-old Cyrus, were among family members, friends and colleagues who gathered on Wednesday for a memorial service at Bridge church.
Dr Cooper's wife Clare said she wants to "shout from the rooftops about how great he was".
She said: "Eminent is the right word for Ashley. Last month he was advising the government - for someone so young it was amazing the stuff he did.
"There were thousands of people at his funeral. He was a good egg. I want to shout from the rooftops about how great he was.
"We do not know why he had the cardiac arrest. They carried out a post mortem - and they did all the tests as he was medical royalty - but it did not find a cause of death. He was fit and healthy."
Martial arts fan Dr Cooper had worked for the East Kent Hospitals University
"i want to shout from the rooftops about how great he was…” – clare cooperFoundation Trust since 2006 and was based at the K&C's Friends Dermatology Centre, where he was held in high esteem by fellow doctors and patients for his skill as a surgeon and his treatment of skin cancer.
He is credited with being a driving force in the development of the Mohs Micrographic Surgery service in East Kent – one of few in the UK – offering highly-specialised surgery for patients with difficult skin cancers of the face.
But he also looked after patients with other skin problems, treating thousands of people each year.
Colleagues say he was an enthusiastic educator, teaching surgical skills all over the UK and supervising and acting as programme director for trainee dermatologists.
He also developed patient information leaflets and surgical data collection proformas which are used nationally and internationally to improve patient care.
Dr Cooper was a member of many national bodies including the specialist advisory committee to the Royal College of Physicians, British Society for Dermatological Surgery, Dermatology Council for England and the Melanoma Taskforce at the Houses of Parliament. He was also an elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
Outside work he had many interests including martial arts, computers, technology, music and cars.
Dr Cooper suffered the cardiac arrest in his sleep on December 16 and died in the K&C’s intensive care unit on December 22.
Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral at Barham Crematorium on Saturday.
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