Anna Donald

Anna Donald Anna died on the morning of 1 February, Sydney time. She was surrounded by her family and by the prayers and thoughts of her friends around the world. Anna took great comfort and encouragement from the comments made on this site, and her blog was one of her great delights over the last few months. Thank you to everyone who has taken part. Michael

  • Emma

    ‘She has achieved success who has lived well,
    laughed often and loved much;
    Who has gained the respect of intelligent people
    and the love of little children;
    Who has filled her niche and accomplished her task;
    Who has left the world better than she found it;
    Who has looked for the best in others
    and given the best she had;
    Whose life was an inspiration;
    Whose memory is a benediction.’

    I am so sorry, Michael. These words seem fitting for my experience of Anna, she was, and will continue to be, a blessing to so many. May she be at peace now.

  • Karin

    Dearest Anna,
    You are our inspiration: then, now and always,
    We will miss you,
    love Karin

  • Ben

    Anna was a good friend and colleague, full of ideas whenever we spoke. I will miss her very much.

  • Doug Kaufman

    Anna’s powerful, candid blogging should be made into a book in her memory, and for the benefit of all others dealing with cancer.

  • Mary E Black

    Anna’s blog was a great delight to many over the last few months. She had a rare quality of conveying meaning and feelings in words. So what could have been a litany was a journey – and many of us felt we shared at least part of it.

    I think that Anna’s blog should be a book. It might be a short book but that would be fine. There are too many tedious blogs in this world and too many long books. Anna came across as a woman that would never be tedious. It is our loss that her time on this earth was not long.

    And it is my especial loss that I never met her in person.

    Sincere condolences to all of her family and friends.


  • Dear Michael

    I condole with you. We have lost a most dear and a valuable friend. But, it is the will of God.

    We are spirits and bodies lent to us. When it gives us pain and performs none other than the intentions given to us, we leave it in the hands of God. I cannot refrain from tendering consolation in the thanks to God for inviting me to meet such a friendly Spirit. I shall always cherish whatever short time we had together. I will always remember Anna with pride and savour her voice that redounds in my ears. I write this with heavy heart. I console myself that maybe if I believe and what has been my belief, then God will make us meet again. I pray for her soul to rest in Peace. Amen.


  • Jane Lehmann

    Dear Michael,
    It was a treat for me to speak to Anna recently, although only briefly, and renew contact after so many years – her blog made this possible. We have so many fond memories of Anna and the years we shared in our little flat in East Balmain. I will remember her love of carrots – eaten right out of the bag, and her mushroom pasta dish, and catching the ferry together and her always sunny smile. We had the pink sofa from Janet’s house that she gave us and I have a great photo of Anna and me that Peter took – we were holding a colourful collection of fruit – I’ll send it to you. And, we got addicted to Kitaro after Anna introduced us to him. I am so sorry Michael. To lose Anna is such a tragedy. We will always miss her. Please pass on our condolences to Janet, Bruce and Tom. Love Jane Lehmann and Peter Shafron, USA

  • Larnich Harije

    I am so sorry I have been waiting for an update and hoping it would not be this but another of Anna’s inspiring blogs – I still keep Anna’s “What makes me feel good?” post. Goodbye Anna.

  • Trish Greenhalgh

    Medicine has lost one of its brightest lights. All the best to you Michael and all the family at this difficult time.
    Trish Fraser Rob and Al

  • Emma Macdonald

    Thank you Anna for teaching me so much about what medicine really is.

    Emma (NZ medical student).

  • Jon

    What a terrible loss.

    I didn’t know Anna particularly well, but when we did talk I always found her enthusiasm infectious. She was very kind with her time and it was always a pleasure to see her.

    Sad, sad news

  • Anna added so much – she was both deeply serious and committed in all she spoke to me about but equally realistic that none of us should take ourselves too seriously. I remember her most fondly in ?Gladstone’s old house in the heart of London hosting yet another great event with her meeting and greeting everyone with such affection and style.

  • Christine

    Dear Anna,

    I am so sorry that I only found out about your blog now that you’re gone. Thank you so much for your blog.

    Love and light and warmest wishes to Anna’s family.

  • Dear Michael

    My thoughts are with you.

    A couple of months ago I asked Anna for advice on a presentation I had been asked to give – as a patient – at the Lancet ‘Health of the Nation’ Summit this coming Thursday. As usual, Anna’s input made me think. I finalised my slides for the talk today. I was going to send them to Anna to have a quick look over, when I learned that she had died.

    I would like to dedicate my talk on Thursday to the memory of Anna – a champion of equitable, effective, efficient and caring health services. Please let me know if you would rather I did not do this.

    Strength to you.


  • Aisha

    Anna was an inspiration to many.

    My thoughts are with you and the family Michael.

  • Liz & Dave

    We are so terribly sorry to hear this news. Anna was a very special person and our thoughts are with Michael and the rest of her family.

    Liz & Dave

  • Anna Donald

    So very, very sorry. A terrible loss, for she gave much to the world. The sad, and joyous, co-incidences in our lives that linked us and our loved ones, from Sydney to London, was remarkable and intriguing. Though we never met, we have.
    Anna Donald.

  • Gavin Frost

    Michael, Janet, Bruce and Tom
    I thought Anna had taught us so much in the EBM she helped grow to maturity.
    But we’ve all learned more about medicine, and ourselves, by being with her, in a variety of ways over the last several years

    My love and prayers to you all, and we won’t forget Anna

  • justin jewitt

    She will be missed. But she leaves us the better having known her, the spirit that she generated for her friends, family and everyone is unquenchable.My thoughts and prayers are with all of you .

    Justin J

  • Liz Wager

    Like many other of Anna’s ‘virtual fans’ her blogs were an inspiration to me and my thoughts are with her ‘real’ family and friends who will miss her so much more. But that inspiration and Anna’s fantastic courage and good humour live on. Although her life was cut short she has left the world a better place.

  • Dr. Thisara C. Weerasuriya MBBS, MS, MRCS

    Dear Micheeal,
    I wish to condole with you and my prayers are with you. Anna’s blog was one of my favourites on this site. I was really shocked by her demise.
    Her memories will live along with all of us who knew her through BMJ.
    May she attain the supreme bliss of nirvana!

    Dr. Thisara C. Weerasuriya MBBS,MS,MRCS
    Senior Registrar in Orthopaedics,
    The National Hospital of Sri Lanka,
    Senior Lecturer in Anatomy,
    University of Sri Jayawardenepura,
    Sri Lanka.

  • hello Dr Fiona Godlee!
    Hope that you will be safe and sound…I am Muhammad Tariq(rph) from Islamabad Pakistan.
    I exclusively feel grieve from the core of my heart,when hear about the Death of the late Anna Donald…..May God bleessed her with her soul
    and when read the the death cause was metastatic cancer……I really shocked…b/c this disease already engulf my three v v v closed family members…whom deficiency in my family I yet feel
    I have a true sympathy with the late Anna’s family members
    May God bless her with the deeds she done for the sick mankind espec. in BMJ belog
    Muhammad Tariq Toru(RPh)
    Doctor Of Pharmacy(Pharm.D)

  • Nadeem Aftab

    I always enjoyed anna’s contributions in the BMJ.Very sad to hear of her untimely death.My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

  • Manal

    It is with great sadness that I receive this news of Anna passing away. My condolence to her family

  • Lola

    Anna was such a lovely and bubbly person. She always knew how to smile and laugh even at the worst of times. It is a great loss, she has offered so much support and guidance to many people, from all around the world. May she rest in peace.

  • Dr. Saeed Iqbal

    Dear Micheal
    Very good morning,
    I really feel sorry for Anna sad demise.I had recently joined BMJ and had not had much about BMJ blogs.The way people had appreciated her indicates that she had done a great service in her field and how much people loved her. Evereyone who has breathed in this world had to take the last one.Its the wonderful memories and services to mankind which remain immmortal.Anna had done that great job. She will be always remembred as a great person devoted to humanity services.My heart and thought goes with family. May God bless her soul in eternal peace AND GIVE THE FAMILY STENGTH TO BEAR THIS LOSS.
    Dr. Saeed Iqbal
    (Paediatric Specialist)

  • So sorry to hear the sad news. Anna burned so brightly and all our lives are much richer for the the time she spent with us. She was a truly exceptional person with a unique and heady combination of talents. She was also really nice and good fun. We will think of Anna often, and we can be sure that her compassion, conviction and dynamism will long continue to inspire.

  • Emma

    Many condolences from all at HSJ, where Anna was once a columnist.
    May she rest in peace.
    Emma Dent

  • Alastair McLellan

    Anna was the only genius I’ve met. She was also, of course, a completely delightful woman. Her work on the establishment of evidology will come to be recognised (even more than it is now) as seminal and hugely significant. She’s a terrible loss – but she made the maximum use of her time on this planet.
    Alastair McLellan, Editor, Nursing Times

  • geraldyn.jackman

    I lost a friend last year and this week to cancer. Both in there early 40s. I am not amedical person but I really enjoyed Anna s blogs and felt I knew her and today I feel I have lost one more friend to this terrible disease.

    may she rest in peace.


  • James Woodcock

    I doubt I would have become an epidemiologist if it was not for Anna. She was a great teacher at UCL and then I followed her to the BMJ Group where I learned even more working for her on Clinical Evidence. She will be missed.

  • Taixiang Wu

    Anna, a memorable great teacher and friend, you will be missed forever.
    Taixiang Wu

  • Cathy

    Anna, you were the warmest academic that I ever met. The last time you were in touch was in 2003, yet I find myself more moved that I ever thought I could be knowing you’re gone.

  • Matiram Pun

    Dearest Anna,

    May you rest in peace in heaven!!! I read your blogs here quite recently and came to know you are sick! Now you are not here with us writing blog again and your physical presence is over! But you will always with us! You made such a profound impact and encouragement to many including a very young are fresh medical graduates like me to work till the last hours of life.

    Thank you Anna, thank you so much!!!

    May you rest in peace!

    Dr Matiram Pun
    Emergency Medicine House Officer
    Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, IOM

  • Elizabeth Jardine

    Dearest Annie,

    Your star shone so brilliantly in life and will remain with us all for ever more – infusing us with warmth, hope, ideas, laughter, humanity and love.

    I will always miss you and long for the day when we meet again.

    Your friend, EeJay

  • eman khamis

    dear Micheal,
    i am so sorry for Anna,she will be our memorable star how we would miss alike shinning star?
    DR Eman immunology &quality management science

  • Dr Anthony Papagiannis

    Thank you for letting us know, and may the Lord grant you strength in this trying time! Anna will be remembered by all who got to know her through her writings. I would definitely like to see “From the other side” in book form–I hope the BMJ will oblige. I cannot imagine a more fitting tribute to this brave woman. May she be with God.

  • Tom

    Anna also wrote a series of columns for the Health Services Journal (HSJ) in the UK.
    We’ve compiled them for folks who like her BMJ blog, and might be interested in some more of her writing.
    They can be found here:
    Tom (Anna’s brother)

  • neelima

    I knew Anna through the blogs.She was a courageous women who touched the hearts of many.Be at peace Anna…

  • D

    I am sure Anna is marvelling at the next big adventure. I send you every sympathy Michael and family; she was an admirable woman.

  • Grace

    Just yesterday, whilst waiting to pick up my daughters from school, I came across an article pinned on the noticeboard at North Sydney Girls High School on Anna Donald. I was at Sydney Uni about the same time as Anna and remembered reading about her achievements then. I was shocked to learn that she had passed away.

    Even though I’ve never met Anna, I have been moved to tears reading her blogs last night and this morning. Anna is truly an inspiration.

    Rest in peace, Anna.

  • michael,
    i’m sorry its taken me so long to see the news. deepest sympathies to you and all of anna’s family. she touched so many lives in so many ways.what an inspiration!

  • Becci Emmett

    It is with great sadness that I learn of Anna’s death. I am back in Sydney to spend some time with my mother who has incurable cancer.

    Anna was a friend in my class at age 11 and inspired me even then. She was a very sweet and good friend and made me laugh and stuck up for me when I was teased.

    It doesn’t seem right and is very sad. I wish all her family and friends the best and am pleased to have known her, even if at such an early age.


  • Dot

    My sympathies, too – I enjoyed meeting Anna and being involved in similar projects, and trecognise what a loss she is, personally and professionally.

  • Dr John Corish


    My sincere condolences. I contributed to a couple of her blogs last year. My impression of your sister from these brief encounters? Anna was intelligent, articulate and had a wonderful sense of fun.

    Ar dheis lámh Dé go raibh a anam dhílis uasal.

    Best wishes,


  • Richard Ellis

    Dear Michael

    I am so sorry to hear the news about Anna. She has been on my mind often these last weeks and this morning I awoke with her on my mind and received an email from Jackie Fletcher who worked with Anna in a Life Coaching capacity with the sad news.

    In the time I worked with her at your flat in London and through her visits to Christchurch she became a huge inspiration to me. I have so many fond memories of laughing together and sometimes crying together. I will miss her keen conversation and humor and think of her always.

    My heart goes out to you as I know how much in love you both were.

    In the words of Kahil Kibran;

    ‘A little while, a moment to rest upon the wind and another woman shall bear me’.

    sincerest sympathy

    RIchard Ellis

  • David Spencer

    Dear Michael,

    I am so sorry to read your post. Anna was in the year ahead of me at medical school and on occasion gave me advice about my career which to this day I remember and appreciate.

    I am so sad.


  • ian reeves

    Anna –

    With EBM you taught me how to think, and ultimately, how to practice medicine.

    With your blog you have taught me how to live, and how important it is to love life.

    Michael – thank you for sharing Anna’s blog with us, and I hope you find comfort from knowing that everyone who met Anna will never forget her. There is a small corner of Glasgow that still remembers her missionary work as a surgical house officer in the Royal Infirmary!


  • Grant Dex


    It will soon be five months since the sad loss of Anna.

    I miss her blog more every day – and hope you and your family are finding strength in her extraordinary legacy.

    She taught me so much – how to be a compassionate doctor, an enquiring researcher and most of all about humanity.

    I implore you to publish her blog as a book so that her insights might find a wider audience and continue to do good.

    It is in her Memory that I have recently chosen to begin referring to myself as an Evidologist, and strive to cherish and promote her legacy.

    All good wishes

    Nottingham, UK