Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Annis, David (1921 - 2003)

FRCS 1946; MB ChB Liverpool 1942; ChM; MD.

3 February 2003
General surgeon


David Annis was a consultant surgeon at Liverpool's Royal Infirmary. His father was a Polish Jew who emigrated from England to Canada and served with distinction in the Canadian Army during the first world war, being decorated for his conduct at Vimy Ridge. After the war, he returned to England to set up a pharmaceutical company in Manchester and married a Christian Protestant woman, much to the displeasure of his family, who held a funeral service for him.

David was educated at Manchester Grammar School, and then studied medicine at Liverpool. He always wanted to be a surgeon. He took his primary FRCS after his second MB in 1939. After house jobs at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, he gained his FRCS. He was appointed research fellow in experimental surgery at the Mayo Clinic from 1949 to 1951, but refused a third year and returned to Liverpool University as senior lecturer in the department of surgery. He was appointed consultant surgeon at the Royal Infirmary in 1954.

For the next 25 years he had a distinguished academic career. He was director of studies in surgical science and of the bioengineering unit. He was an examiner at many British universities, as well as in Lagos and Riga, and was a member of the Court of Examiners, accompanying them to India, Ceylon, Burma and Singapore.

In 1981, he left his hospital post to set up a new department of clinical engineering at Liverpool University where, together with a polymer scientist, he used electrostatic spinning to produce elastic polyurethane grafts which provided pulsatile vessels for implanting into pigs and sheep.

He was a member of the editorial committee of the Bioengineering Journal and the British Journal of Surgery and of the physiological systems and disorders board of the Medical Research Council. A physician colleague described him as a physician/physiologist who operated.

He was a popular member and sometime President of the Moynihan Chirurgical Club, where he and his wife Nesta were superb hosts. As a young man David enjoyed playing the clarinet and writing verse. He enjoyed the countryside and motoring abroad. A shy, diffident, kind, amusing and courageous man, he was a role model for a generation of young surgeons.

He and Nesta had four children, three of whom work in the NHS. For the last two years of his life he was affected by Alzheimer's disease. He died on 3 February 2003.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2003 326 1462, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England