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vale John Grant-Thomson

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Vale John Grant-Thomson 18/11/1938 - 13/9/2021

It is with great sadness that we farewell Emeritus Professor John Charles Grant-Thomson AM RFD, developer of the MIRF and NeoCot  neonatal transport system. John, as a medical engineer was a great innovator and developed the widely used NeoCot for newborn and infant patient transport. Used widely across Australia and in Scandinavia, John worked hard to make sure the equipment he designed and manufactured was adapted to local needs for both road and air transport. He was well respected by the neonatal transport community and will be sorely missed.
John was born at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in 1938. Fittingly, it was at the RBWH (and at the same time the Mater Mother's in South Brisbane) where his innovative self-loading Neocot was first used over 20 years ago. Previous neonatal life support systems had been large and heavy; weighing over 200kg and were a manual handling nightmare, especially for air transport,
John joined the USQ in 1970 (then known as the Queensland Institute of Technology {Darling Downs}) and rose through the academic ranks as Professor of Medical Engineering.
In 1993 John and his team at the University of Southern Qld at Toowoomba had developed the Mobile Intensive Care Facility (MIRF) for use by the Australian military. It was used during the Rwandan war in 1994 and later used by mining companies in saving lives in remote mining locations. John served in the Australian Army Medical Corps and Royal Australian Air Force and spent 3 decades as a reservist, receiving Military Awards.
He was a member of the NASA team which established the Toowoomba Cooby Creek tracking station into research satellite communications system; culminating with the moon landings.
In 1999 a student project was started at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba to design a better system, using tubular frame design, an electric loading trolley and an incubator designed to potentially accommodate two babies at once.
Awarded an AM in the Australian New Year Honour's list in 2018, the citation read 'For significant service to biomedical engineering, and to education, as an academic and researcher, to medical equipment design and as a mentor'
.John was also recognized for his service to newborn baby transport in the ABC's Australian Story program 'Cradle of Life' in May 2020.
John brought his MIRF and later the NeoCot to several annual conferences of the Society as an exhibitor and contributor.
BAC Technologies continues to produce the equipment John designed and developed, employing five full-time USQ graduate engineers on the project. However, as recently as last week he was personally in contact with neonatal transport team members, discussing current issues and requirements.

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