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Biographical entry Bultitude, Michael Ian (1936 - 2011)

LMSSA 1963; MB BChir Cambridge 1965; FRCS Edin 1969; FRCS 1970.

29 September 1936
Withernsea, Yorkshire
19 February 2011
Worthing, Sussex
Urological surgeon


Michael Bultitude was a much respected urologist at St Thomas' Hospital who helped set up the first public lithotripter service in the UK for renal stones and also made significant contributions to the study of urodynamics.

He was born on 29 September 1936 in Withernsea, Yorkshire, the only child of Frank and Millicent Bultitude. When only a few months old his father, a serving Army officer, was posted to India and for the next several years the family lived in that country. Sadly, his father died when Michael was only seven years old and so the family returned to England and Michael attended the Royal Masonic School, where he excelled academically, winning a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, to study medicine. He was a keen oarsman, and in later years would proudly still display his oar from his Cambridge days. He proceeded to London for his clinical studies at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1965.

House appointments were at Shoreham Hospital and Worthing Hospital, before he became a senior house officer on the urological unit at St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey. A rotating registrarship on the Wolverhampton circuit was followed by a seminal year as a resident surgical officer at St Peter's Hospital for Stone, London, which was the acknowledged centre for postgraduate urology. After a research urology post back at St Thomas' he was appointed as a senior registrar in urology and, in 1977, consultant urologist at both Lewisham Hospital and St Thomas', where he worked with Kenneth Shuttleworth and Wyndham Lloyd-Davies as colleagues. He left Lewisham in 1981 to work exclusively at his alma mater.

Michael set up a urodynamics unit developing and equipping a cystometrogram unit for the investigation of functional disorders of micturition. He pioneered the use of prostaglandins in the atonic bladder and the use of sub trigonal injections of phenol for urge incontinence, publishing a number of papers on these areas. Other areas of research interest were urinary tract infection in relation to prostatectomy and the use of capsaicin for patients with chronic renal pain. This latter subject unusually resulted in a paper where the authors were father and son (for his son Matthew was then a medical student at St Thomas' and helped his father in the research) ('Loin pain haematuria syndrome: distress resolved by pain relief.' Pain. 1998 May;76[1-2]:209-13).

In the early 1980s St Thomas' was the first NHS hospital in the UK to install an extracorporeal shock wave lithotripter for the treatment of urinary calculi and Michael was closely involved with the development of this service. In 1986 he was a co-author of a paper detailing the treatment of the first 1,000 patients by this machine ('Report on the first 1000 patients treated at St Thomas' Hospital by extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy.' Br J Urol. 1986 Dec;58[6]:573-7).

Outside of urology his interests included sports cars and especially boating. His motor boat named Shockwave (after the lithotripter) was moored near Rochester and many a weekend was spent with his family either sailing it or tinkering with it. Holidays were spent in the sunshine of Lanzarote, where he owned a villa for some 20 years. Happily married to Margaret, a former radiographer, they had four children, three sons (the eldest Matthew, who also became a consultant urologist, Sam and Richard) and a daughter (Jessica). Retiring from St Thomas' in 1999 because of ill health, he moved from the London suburb of Dulwich to the sea air of Worthing, where he enjoyed a relaxed life despite battling with various illnesses which he bore with stoicism and fortitude. He died on 19 February 2011, aged 74.

Sir Barry Jackson
Matthew Bultitude

The Royal College of Surgeons of England