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Biographical entry Harvey, John Scott (1946 - 2010)

MRCS and FRCS 1975; MB BCh Leeds 1968; MPhil Leeds 1976; LRCP 1975.

5 April 1946
Manchester, UK
6 January 2010
South Glamorgan, UK
General surgeon


John Harvey was appointed as a consultant general surgeon at the Llandough Hospital in 1982. The hospital later became an integral part of Cardiff Medical School, and was renamed 'University Hospital Llandough' in 2008 during the celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the hospital and 125 years of Cardiff University.

Harvey was born on 5 April 1946 in Manchester into a non-medical family, the son of Arthur Harvey, a clerk who worked for the Manchester Ship Canal Company, and his wife Eliza Jane née Scott, a coalminer's daughter. After secondary schooling at Manchester Grammar School, where he was a foundation scholar, he entered the University of Leeds for his medical training.

Qualifying in 1968, he held house appointments at the Leeds General Infirmary. He obtained his MPhil when he was a university lecturer in physiology and passed the FRCS when working on rotating appointments in the Leeds area. To gain more practical experience, he proceeded to a surgical registrar appointment at the Clayton and Pinderfield hospitals in Wakefield.

Most of his higher surgical training took place in Wales, as a senior registrar in South Glamorgan, and he acquired a specialist interest in vascular surgery during this period. Over the years he became the respected 'anchorman' of the Cardiff vascular service. He was active in many aspects of Welsh surgical practice, becoming president of the Welsh Surgical Society and also an excellent chairman of the Welsh Surgical Travelling Club.

Fond of teaching both undergraduates and postgraduates, in a student yearbook he was quoted as saying: "if you want to pass the exam you need to use the correct words: to gain a distinction you need to put them in the right order".

He was a very private man in many ways, but had a keen sense of humour. He would never flout his learning, but when he took an interest in a subject his knowledge took many by surprise. There were many family holidays to the USA, and he became interested in the American Civil War and was an ardent fan of baseball. He staggered and entertained all his colleagues with a verbatim recitation of all 13 stanzas of the famous baseball poem 'Casey at the Bat' at one of the local surgical society meetings. His colleagues described him as "one of the most self-deprecating and caring surgeons" they knew.

In 1968 John Harvey married Maureen Grayson: they had one daughter, Rachel Elizabeth, and a son, James. A sufferer from diabetes, he withstood the rigours of treatment for leukaemia and maintained the unique ability of never being rude to anyone, even during the final days when aplastic anaemia developed and his suffering was great. He died on 6 January 2010 in South Glamorgan.

N Alan Green

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Philip Matthews; John Roberts].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England