Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Paton-Philip, Philip (1922 - 2009)

MRCS 1946; FRCS 1955; BA Cambridge 1942; MB BChir 1945; MChir 1959; LRCP 1946.

12 September 1922
Cambridge, UK
2 March 2009


Philip Paton-Philip was a consultant urologist at Epsom and District Hospital and St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, also serving as a senior lecturer to St George's Hospital Medical School with honorary consultant status.

He was born in Cambridge on 12 September 1922, the eldest son of Wilfrid Paton Philip, a chest physician, and Mary Simpson, a nursing sister, whose own father had been a journalist. Educated at Perse School, Cambridge, Philip Paton-Philip proceeded to St John's College, Cambridge, for his natural science studies. He then went to St Bartholomew's Medical School on a Kitchener scholarship.

After house appointments, in 1947 he served in the chest unit at the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, as surgeon in charge with the rank of surgeon lieutenant commander. In his post-service appointments he worked as a resident surgical officer at the London Clinic, and it was here that he was greatly influenced by Rodney Maingot, Dickson Wright, Sir Harold Gillies and Sir Archibald McIndoe.

Definitive surgical and specialist urological training came as a senior registrar and chief assistant at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he worked with Rupert Corbett and Alec Badenoch, the latter influencing his future specialist career. He was a clinical assistant at St Peter's Hospital for the Stone, London. In 1964 he was appointed to his definitive appointment, as a consultant urologist at Epsom and District Hospital and St Helier Hospital, Carshalton.

He published in the thoracic field, particularly on death from air embolism whilst serving in the Royal Navy, and later on feminising testicular tumours.

He had an extensive private practice. He retired early from the NHS in 1985. He was a member of the Hunterian Society, the Royal Society of Medicine, the British Association of Urological Surgeons and the British Academy of Expert Witnesses, having developed a reputation in the medico-legal side of urology, thoracic surgery and problems associated with deep-water diving.

Outside medicine, Philip Paton-Philip was an accomplished horseman and competed regularly in amateur cross country and show jumping championships. He was a member of the Garrick and Savage clubs.

Philip Paton-Philip married Julia Vaux in 1959, by whom he had one son, Charles. Later he was married for 34 years to Christina Bernhardson, a dental surgeon from Sweden, whom he had met whilst riding in Hyde Park. They had two sons, the elder, Richard, became a barrister, and James, a solicitor. Their parents sponsored both of them to play polo for Eton. In later years Philip Paton-Philip developed Alzheimer's disease: Christina cared for him with great devotion during those difficult times. He died in hospital on 2 March 2009. Christina and his three sons, Charles, Richard and James, survived him.

N Alan Green

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2009 338 2292; information from Richard Paton-Philip and James Paton-Philip].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England