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Biographical entry Dickson, James Russell (1922 - 2009)

MRCS and FRCS 1954; MB BS Guy's 1946.

27 October 1922
2 January 2009
General surgeon


James Dickson (Jim) was a general surgeon at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital in Guernsey. He was born in Liverpool on 27 October 1922, the son of James Reid Dickson, a commercial traveller, and his wife, Lizzie, née Acheson. He was educated at Alleyn's School in Dulwich and qualified MB BS in 1946 having studied at Guy's Hospital. He did national service with the RAF from 1946 to 1949, serving as a medical officer with the rank of flight lieutenant. After surgical residencies at the King Edward VII Hospital Windsor, and the Maidenhead and Brompton Hospitals, he passed the fellowship of the College (in 1954) and moved to Guernsey in 1955 where he became consultant surgeon to the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

As his obituary in the BMJ noted "the Channel Islands had been under German occupation during the war and the recovery was slow and difficult in the austere conditions of that time. Modernisation was urgently required and Jim worked tirelessly with both his surgery and hospital administration to provide as much improvement as was necessary." A versatile surgeon he rapidly increased the range of operations available on the island. Meticulous in his operations he could turn his hand to most procedures and he made sure that any surgical innovations were speedily adopted on Guernsey.

When he was a student at Guy's he met his wife Patricia Mary née Palin, who qualified as a physiotherapist. They married in 1947 and had three children, Christopher who died in a riding accident in Australia, Patrick and Joanna. He had a deep religious faith and was church warden of St Andrew's Church from 1991 to 2000. His hobbies were swimming, sailing, golf (he was captain of the local club), gardening and wood turning - he used to make miniature dolls' furniture for exhibition.

He died of prostate cancer on 2 January 2009, in his 87th year survived by Pat, his remaining son and daughter, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

[Brit med j 2009 338:b2281]

Tina Craig

The Royal College of Surgeons of England