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Biographical entry Woodhouse, Derrick Fergus (1927 - 2007)

MRCS 1950; FRCS 1961; BM BCh Oxford 1951; DO 1956; LRCP 1952; FRCOpth 1988.

29 May 1927
Sutton, Surrey, UK
1 December 2007
Sydney, Australia


Derrick Fergus Woodhouse was an ophthalmologist, first in the West Midlands area and then in New South Wales, Australia. He was born on 29 May 1927 in Sutton, Surrey, the third child of Sydney Carver Woodhouse, a venereologist at St Thomas’ Hospital, and Erica née Ferguson, a mathematician. His schooling was at Caterham Preparatory School and Kelly College, Tavistock, from which he went to New College, Oxford.

He did his clinical training at St Thomas’ Hospital and then he held house officer appointments in ophthalmology, medicine and surgery at St Thomas’, Exeter and Plymouth, before entering the RAF with a short service commission. He served as squadron leader at Cosford and Ely.

His ophthalmic training was at the Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital as senior house officer and registrar, at the Bristol Eye Infirmary as senior registrar, before being appointed as a consultant ophthalmologist to the West Midlands Regional Health Authority (Wolverhampton and Stafford hospitals) in 1963. He gave credit for his training to Harold Ridley at St Thomas’ and Phillip Jameson Evans at Birmingham Eye Infirmary.

He then worked for a short period as locum ophthalmologist in Brisbane for two months and subsequently as VMO refractionist to Sydney Eye Hospital (from 1990 to 1992). From 1990 to 1997 he was staff ophthalmologist, Liverpool Hospital, New South Wales, and head of the eye department.

His publications were many, his main interests being glaucoma, paediatric and neonatal ophthalmology, and computer applications to ophthalmology and optics. He was active in national committees. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, treasurer and president of the Midland Ophthalmological Society, council member of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom, treasurer and chairman of the Ophthalmic Nursing Board of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and a member of the British Computer Society from 1964. He travelled and lectured all over the world.

In 1957, he married Jocelyn Laira Perry, an occupational therapist, at the Friends Meeting House, Sutton, Surrey. They had three children – Karen, a material scientist, Iain, who works in publications distribution, and Gillian, a biotechnologist researching biosensors. He died peacefully in Sydney on 1 December 2007, leaving his wife and three children.

Enid Taylor

The Royal College of Surgeons of England