Dr David Siegler, founding adult hospice member, dies
It is with great sadness we have learnt Dr David Siegler, patron and founding member of the adult hospice at Keech Hospice Care in Luton, has died suddenly at the age of 78.
Dr Siegler – a well-respected former respiratory consultant at Luton and Dunstable Hospital for 28 years - advised the hospice’s original appeal committee on medical aspects of the building’s design and helped to shape its early services. When the facility opened in 1991, he became its first Honorary Medical Director.
When interviewed for ‘Tears and Laughter’, the book written in 2012 to celebrate 21 years of Keech Hospice Care, the charity’s first matron Barbara Kettley, fondly remembered: “Dr Siegler was always there when needed and despite a very busy life as a consultant physician at the hospital, always visited the hospice every day. Without Dr David Siegler the hospice would not have come about.”
A close friend of fellow well-known local physician Dr Wink White, who sadly died in 2018, Dr Siegler had a great passion for palliative care which stemmed from caring for people with lung cancer in his capacity as head of the chest department at the hospital.
Both Keech Hospice Care’s Clinical Director Elaine Tolliday, and CEO Liz Searle have cherished memories of working with the esteemed doctor.
Elaine said: “Dr Siegler was an excellent physician who always wanted the hospice to feel like home. Patients had great confidence in his care, and he set very high standards which we maintain today.”
“Dr Siegler laid the foundations of excellent palliative care for our community. The hospice will always be grateful to him for his time, commitment, and expertise. He was a great example of our vision - making the difference when it matters the most,” added Liz.
Dr Siegler, who succeeded hospice founder Dr White as chairman, was also heavily involved in helping to raise start-up funds for what was the Luton and South Bedfordshire Hospice (then the Pasque Charity and now Keech Hospice Care).
Previously speaking about his early involvement, Dr Siegler said: “The days before the hospice was built were when we had all the fun, because we started from a standing start, there was no money. We started from zero so the stories about fundraising were quite extraordinary.”
Dr Siegler sadly lost his son Jonathan in 2017 to cancer, they were both avid Luton Town Football Club supporters. He is survived by wife Julia, who also previously volunteered in the hospice’s laundry for more than 20 years, and daughter Ruth.