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Biographical entry Wadsworth, Paul Vincent (1919 - 2010)

BM BCh Oxford 1944; MRCS and FRCS 1951.

2 November 1919
Harewood, Yorkshire
24 October 2010
Brighton, Sussex
ENT surgeon


Paul Vincent Wadsworth was a consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon to the Brighton and Haywards Heath hospitals and, for many years, also principal laryngologist to Glyndebourne Opera. He was born in Harewood, Yorkshire, on 2 November 1919, the son of Joseph Harold Wadsworth, a school master, and Clarice Seymour Wadsworth née Hemmines. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School and, in 1938, won an open exhibition in natural sciences to St Peter's College, Oxford, where he played both rugby and cricket for his university (during the Second World War no blues were awarded). He did, however, become a member of Vincent's Club, the elite sporting and social club, and was selected to play two games of cricket for his native Yorkshire. His clinical studies were at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.

On qualification in 1944 he became a senior house officer to George Grey Turner at the Postgraduate Medical School, before serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a surgeon lieutenant, being one of the first officers to visit Hiroshima following its destruction by an atomic bomb.

After the war Paul Wadsworth decided to train in ear, nose and throat surgery and, influenced by Ronald Macbeth, he returned to Oxford as a senior house officer and later a registrar at the Radcliffe Infirmary (from 1947 to 1951). He completed his training as a clinical tutor (senior registrar) with Ion Simson Hall at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, where he developed an interest in surgery for otosclerosis.

In addition to being appointed as a consultant ENT surgeon to the Royal Sussex County Hospital and the Sussex Throat and Ear Hospital, Paul Wadsworth was also on the staff of the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital, Brighton, and the Haywards Heath and Cuckfield hospitals. He readily adapted to the use of the operating microscope, which enabled him to introduce stapedectomy, transsphenoidal hypophysectomy and later homograph tympanoplasty to Brighton.

A somewhat domineering Yorkshireman, with strong leadership qualities, Paul Wadsworth started teaching sessions and regular interdisciplinary team meetings, effected the appointment of an audiological scientist, and established Brighton as a major training centre with the creation of a senior registrar rotation with the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, London.

Paul Wadsworth was president of the Sussex Medico-Chirugical Society (founded in 1847) and an active member of the Brighton and Mid Sussex division of the British Medical Association, serving as secretary (from 1957 to 1960) and chairman (in 1967).

For relaxation he played golf regularly at the Dyke Golf Club in Sussex and enjoyed sailing.

In 1948 he married Elizabeth, the daughter of R H Emmett of Southsea, a doctor, who at that time was a colonel commanding the Royal Engineers Territorial Unit at Portsmouth. Paul Wadsworth died on 24 October 2010, aged 90. He was survived by his wife, three daughters and seven grandchildren.

Neil Weir

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2011 342 485].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England