Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Pilcher, Michael Francis (1916 - 2010)

MRCS LRCP 1939; MB BS London 1940; FRCS 1948; BA London 1988.

4 October 1916
19 August 2010
Orthopaedic surgeon


Michael Francis Pilcher was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the London Hospital. He was born on 4 October 1916 in Ealing, west London, the youngest of the seven children of Thorold Sturtevant Pilcher, a manufacturer, and Helena Pilcher née Neilson. His older brother, Robin Sturtevant Pilcher, became professor of surgery at University College Hospital, London. Michael Pilcher was educated at St Paul's School, and then went on to University College Hospital Medical School to study medicine.

After qualifying, he began his training in orthopaedics at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) in Stanmore. From 1942 to 1946 he was a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and in 1944, while in Italy, used the newly discovered penicillin to treat open fractures of the femur.

After obtaining his FRCS in 1948, he became a senior registrar at RNOH. In 1954 he was appointed as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the City and Hackney group, including Bethnal Green, St Leonard's and St Matthew's hospitals. From 1975 to 1980 he was a consultant surgeon at the London Hospital. He was also an honorary consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he set up a scoliosis service with George Lloyd-Roberts. His other research interests included the diagnosis and prevention of deep vein thrombosis, and hip surgery.

Once he retired he emigrated to Malta, obtained a licence to practise medicine and set up a pioneering scoliosis clinic on the island. He also studied history and gained a BA from the University of London: his research focused on the knights of Malta.

Michael Pilcher fell on 13 August 2010 and fractured the neck of his femur. He had surgery, but died from aspiration pneumonia six days later on 19 August 2010 in Malta. He was 93. Predeceased by his wife Eleanor ('Pippin') née Farrington, a former nurse and hospital administrator, whom he married in June 1940, he was survived by his daughter Katharine, four grandchildren, Rebecca, Thomas, Ruth and Heloise, and one great-grandson, Joseph.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2011 342 847].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England