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Biographical entry Cook, John Holford (1943 - 2006)

MRCS 1968; FRCS 1975; MB BS London 1968; LRCP 1968; FRCA; FRCOphth.

16 May 1943
27 December 2006
Anaesthetist and Ophthalmologist


John Holford Cook began his career as an ophthalmologist, but later re-trained as an anaesthetist. Born on 16 May 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, he did not meet his father until he was three years old.

He studied medicine at the Royal Free Hospital, London, and, following qualification, trained as an ophthalmologist. He later switched to anaesthesia, and ultimately became director of the intensive care unit at Eastbourne. There ‘Cookie’, as he was always known, was an enthusiastic teacher and trainer. He was clinical tutor for his hospital and a college tutor for the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

He had many interests outside medicine. He had long been an enthusiastic radio ‘ham’ and built his own equipment and branched out into designing circuits for the radio control of the model boats that were built by his step-father. He mastered machine code for his computers and, when his children took up music, he decided to learn the trombone, which he played in the British Legion Band and the Eastbourne Concert Orchestra, using his computer to make new arrangements for his band.

He developed adenocarcinoma of the lung and died on 27 December 2006, leaving his wife Lesley, four children and a grandson.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2007 334 1171].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England