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Biographical entry King, Philip Austin (1918 - 2004)

MRCS and FRCS 1953; MB ChB Sheffield 1948.

7 June 2004
General surgeon


Philip King was a consultant surgeon at St Stephen’s Hospital, Chelsea, and honorary consultant surgeon at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. He was born in 1918, the son of an obstetrician and gynaecologist. He was educated at Stonyhurst, and went on to read medicine at Sheffield, but the loss of some of his friends in the second world war made him interrupt his studies and join the RAF, where he served as a pilot.

After the war, he completed his medical degree and then did house jobs at Sheffield and became resident surgical tutor. He then came to London as senior registrar to Sir Clement Price Thomas, Charles Drew and Frank d’Abreu at the Westminster Hospital, where he was one of the team that introduced the artificial kidney and cardiac bypass machines.

He was then appointed general surgeon to St Stephen’s Hospital in Chelsea, part of the Westminster group. At this time he began his long association with the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, where Sister Pauline of the Sisters of Mercy, remembered him as a “faultless charismatic performer who cared deeply for his patients”. There he served as chairman of the medical staff committee and continued to serve the hospital long after he retired.

He was admitted to the Order of Malta, first as a Knight of Grace and Devotion and later as a Knight of Obedience, and served the order with distinction, acting regularly as chief medical officer to their annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. Ironically, he developed a carcinoma of the oesophagus, a condition he had studied and written about. He underwent oesophagectomy and made a remarkable recovery.

A keen sailor, for a time he owned a small island in the Menai Straits. He died of cardiovascular disease in the Hospice of St John and St Elizabeth, which he had helped established, on 7 June 2004, leaving his wife Gabrielle and three children, one of whom qualified at Westminster and became a consultant radiologist.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Gabrielle King; Stonyhurst College Gazette.].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England