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Biographical entry Christmas, Timothy John (1956 - 2011)

FRCS 1985; FRCS (Urol) 1991; MB BS London 1980; MD 1992.

2 February 1956
19 June 2011
Urological surgeon


Timothy (Tim) Christmas was a consultant urological surgeon at Charing Cross and the Royal Marsden Hospitals in London and, at his untimely death, was "widely regarded as one of Britains's great urological surgeons". Born in Cheltenham on 2 February 1956, he was educated at Bournemouth School. He won a scholarship to study at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London and stayed on after qualifying to work as house surgeon to Richard Turner Warwick. It was probably this experience that inspired him to specialise in urology. Progressing to registrar posts in Nottingham and Cambridge he spent some time assisting Sir Roy Calne before returning to London to research reconstructive urological surgery and interstitial cystitis at University College and the Middlesex.

In 1992 Tim was appointed consultant urological surgeon to the Westminster and Charing Cross Hospitals. By then he was concentrating on urological oncology and reconstructive surgery and he spent 3 months at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles studying a pioneering technique in the use of orthotopic ileocystoplasty. One of his obituarists noted that "he developed a reputation for complex renal surgery, bladder reconstruction and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, attracting referrals from all over Southern England, Wales and overseas.....many of his referrals were for difficult cases and for patients who had previously been declined surgery." It was said of him that he performed more than 1000 open radical prostatectomies in his career. In the year 2000 he was also appointed as a consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital. He was the author of more than 100 papers (including a landmark publication on Fowler's syndrome), eight books, 20 book chapters and well over 100 printed abstracts. Colleagues remembered him for his skills and his keen sense of humour, with a wit which could be somewhat acerbic in the case of those he considered to be taking on too much private work.

The other great passion of Tim's life was ornithology and he held bird ringing permits for the UK and Ireland. A member of the RSPB, the British Trust of Ornithology and Birdwatch Ireland, he travelled far and wide on bird ringing expeditions. He produced detailed documentation of these trips to places that included the Falkland Islands, Iceland, North Queensland and Guyana, and closer to home, was planning to ring a pair of peregrine falcons that had set up a nest at Charing Cross Hospital. His death at the age of 55 from a brief illness was a great shock to his family, friends and colleagues. He was survived by his wife, Dr Eithne Mannion, who was a consultant uro-pathologist at Charing Cross and his young son, Dermot.

Tina Craig

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet2011 accessed on 19 December 2011; Brit j urol 2011, Vol.108 (4), 475-476].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England