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Biographical entry Attard, Joseph (1932 - 2009)

FRCS 1967; MD Malta 1955; FRCS Edin 1966.

14 September 1932
Senglea, Malta
11 April 2009
General surgeon


Joseph Attard (known to all as ‘Pep’) was a consultant general surgeon in Malta. He was born on 14 September 1932 in Senglea, a town in the Grand Harbour area of Malta. His father was Caesar Attard, a general practitioner and junior surgeon at the main civil hospital of Malta in Floriana. His mother, Gabriella Tenaglia, was the theatre nurse at the private Blue Sisters’ Hospital. His education at St Joseph’s School, Valletta, was interrupted by the air raids of 1940, when the family was evacuated to Birkirkara, where part of the Jesuit College had been transformed into a hospital where Caesar Attard became the chief surgeon. Joseph completed his secondary education in the College and matriculated in 1948. He entered the medical school at the Royal University of Malta, graduating in 1955. He then did house jobs at St Luke’s University Hospital in Malta and went on to England to specialise in surgery, working in various hospitals in London, Gulson Hospital in Coventry and Southampton General Hospital.

In 1961 he married Maureen Brown, a nursing sister at the Temperance Hospital in London. By the time they returned to Malta in 1970 they had two boys and one girl, none of whom followed in their parents’ footsteps. On settling down in Malta, Joseph set up in private practice, soon developed a large clientele and introduced cosmetic surgery to Malta. In 1974 Malta became a republic. The Royal Navy withdrew from the dockyard, and by 1977 there was turmoil. The two private hospitals were closed by the Maltese Government and Joseph worked abroad in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and in various hospitals in England. Finally political stability returned and he was able to go home. He published on traumatic injuries of the pancreas.

He was a keen violinist and enjoyed cooking. His wife, Maureen, died in 2006. He was still working when he developed a sudden homonymous hemianopia and was found to have a brain tumour from which, despite intensive treatment, he died on 11 April 2009.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Raphael Attard; BMJ 2009 339 2961].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England