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Biographical entry Gordon, Walter (1916 - 2003)

MRCS and FRCS 1948; MB BCh Witwatersrand 1939; LRCP 1948; FRCS Edin 1948.

11 January 1916
Modderfontein, South Africa
10 February 2003
Thoracic surgeon


Walter Gordon was a thoracic surgeon. He was born on 11 January 1916 in Modderfontein, South Africa, the third child and second son of Herman Gordon, a confectionery manufacturer and businessman, and Anna née Rabinowitz , a housewife. He was educated at King Edward VII School, Johannesburg, and then at the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied medicine, qualifying in 1939. He then served as a captain in the South African Medical Corps during the Second World War.

Following his demobilisation, he travelled to the UK, where he was a senior registrar in the regional thoracic unit in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and then a first assistant in thoracic surgery at St George’s Hospital, London. He subsequently emigrated to the United States, where he was a surgeon at the Veterans Administration Hospital and associate professor of clinical surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, City University, New York.

He was a member of the executive committee of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland. In the United States he was a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists and was certified as a specialist by the American Board of Anesthesiology. He wrote on thoracic surgery, particularly on haematoma, tuberculosis and carcinoma of the oesophagus and lung.

He married Stella Beryl Girdy in 1943. They had three children – Heryl, a teacher, Nayvin, a medical practitioner, and Shale, a cardiologist. He enjoyed playing chess, skiing, tennis and swimming. He died on 10 February 2003.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England