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Biographical entry Roy, Arthur Douglas (1925 - 2003)

FRCS 1952; MB ChB Glasgow 1947; FRCS Edinburgh 1952; FRCPS Glasgow 1963; FRCS Ireland 1976; FACS 1979.

10 April 1925
21 July 2003
General surgeon


In the course of his career, Douglas Roy held appointments as a professor of surgery on three continents. He was born on 10 April 1925, the son of Arthur Roy and Edith Mary (née Brown). Educated at Paisley Grammar School, he went to Glasgow University to study medicine. After house appointments, he was joined the RAMC in 1948 for his National Service. From 1950 to 1954 he distinguished himself in registrar posts in Glasgow and Inverness. He then went south of the border, to become senior surgical registrar in Oxford and Aylesbury. Returning to Scotland in 1957, he became consultant surgeon, honorary lecturer and first assistant to Sir Charles Illingworth and subsequently to Sir Andrew Watt Kay in the department of surgery at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow.

In 1968, he was appointed foundation professor at the newly opened faculty of medicine at the University of Nairobi. As well as running a busy department, promoting both undergraduate and postgraduate education, he flew with the flying doctor service, visiting remote areas of the country.

In 1973, he became head of Queen’s University department of surgery in Belfast, where he remained for 12 years. Here he stimulated, encouraged and wisely delegated responsibilities in administrative, clinical and research fields. A fine technical surgeon and a dedicated trainer, he was widely respected for his work in gastro-intestinal, breast and endocrine surgery, as well as the management of trauma. He was Chairman of the surgical training committee of the Northern Ireland Council for Postgraduate Medical Education for 11 years. He was on the council of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh from 1979 to 1985, as well as serving on many other committees and advisory bodies.

In 1985, he moved to the Sultanate of Oman, where he was chief of surgical services to the Ministry of Health and professor of surgery at the Sultan Qaboos University for three years. In Oman Roy was instrumental in planning a surgical training programme in the newly opened university medical school.

Roy published papers on gastro-enterology, endocrine surgery and also wrote a supplement on tropical medicine in Lecture notes in surgery.

He retired to Honiton, Devon, where he was a non-executive director of a community health trust and President of the Devon and Exeter Medical Society from 1994 to 1995. He was able to enjoy sailing and gardening. He also took up gliding, sharing a glider with a local general practitioner. He went solo on his 65th birthday.

He was married twice, first in 1954 to Monica Cecilia Mary Bowley, by whom he had three daughters, and secondly, in 1973, to Patricia Irene McColl. There are three grandchildren. He died from Parkinson’s disease on 21 July 2003.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2003 327 1170, with portrait.].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England