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Biographical entry Hadfield, James Irvine Havelock (1930 - 2006)

FRCS 1960; BM BCh Oxford 1955; FRCS Edin1960; FRCSI 1985.

12 July 1930
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, UK
17 May 2006
General surgeon


James Hadfield was a consultant general surgeon with a urological interest at Bedford Hospital. He came from a distinguished medical family: his father, Geoffrey Hadfield, was professor of pathology at the London School of Medicine for Women at the Royal Free Hospital. His mother was Sarah Victoria Eileen Irvine. His elder brother, Geoffrey John, became vice-president of our College and his elder sister, Esmé Havelock Hadfield, was an ENT surgeon at High Wycombe and Amersham hospitals. James was born at Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on 12 July 1930. He was educated at Winchester House School, Brackley, Radley College, and then Brasenose College, Oxford. He completed his clinical training at St Thomas' Hospital, qualifying in 1955 and winning the Clutton medal and the Beaney prize in surgery.

At Oxford he rowed for his college and the Isis VIII, and gained an Olympic trial in 1952. He continued to row at St Thomas', becoming captain of the United Hospitals Boat Club in 1953 and of his hospital in 1954. James won the senior IV pairs sculls, and double sculls at the United Hospitals Regatta, competing in no fewer than ten races in one day.

He was house surgeon at St Thomas' to R H O B Robinson, a general surgeon specialising in urology and one of the founder members of British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS). From 1962 to 1966 James was surgical tutor and first assistant in surgery, and George Herbert Hunt scholar to Oxford University in 1965. He was appointed consultant general surgeon at Bedford Hospital in 1966, and was medical director there for several years. In retirement he taught anatomy at Cambridge and was tutor to undergraduates at Jesus College.

His main interests were in urology and the surgery of the parathyroid gland, and he had a great interest in training young surgeons from overseas. He examined for Oxford, Cambridge and the conjoint, as well as for the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. As an examiner he was fair, but sometimes a little fearsome in his approach to candidates.

His publications reflected his surgical interests, including stone formation in the urinary tract, the management of bladder outflow obstruction and diseases of the parathyroid glands. He was an Arris and Gale lecturer at our College in 1973.

James was a family man who enjoyed country pursuits, painting and collecting watercolours, as well as gardening. For a time he bred and trained gun dogs. In 1957 he married Ann Pickernell Milner, a sister-tutor at St Thomas', also from a medical family. They had three children. Esmé Victoria became a general practitioner in Birmingham, and married a consultant head and neck surgeon. Another daughter, Countess Helen Sarah Orsich, entered television as a producer, and their son Geoffrey Havelock became a translator. There were six grandchildren. He died on 17 May 2006 from carcinoma of the duodenum.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2007 334 49].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England