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Biographical entry Negus, David (1930 - 2010)

MRCS 1958; FRCS 1962; BA Oxford 1954; BM BCh 1958; DM MCh 1967; LRCP 1958.

11 August 1930
8 October 2010
Isle of Wight
General surgeon and Vascular surgeon


David Negus was a consultant general and vascular surgeon at Lewisham Hospital, London, and a pioneer in the newly emerging sub-specialty of phlebology. He was born on 11 August 1930 in London, the son of a distinguished otolaryngologist, Sir Victor Ewings Negus, and his wife, Winifred Negus née Rennie. David was schooled at Charterhouse, from where he was called up for National Service at the age of 18 to serve in the Royal Armoured Corps. On demobilisation he proceeded to New College, Oxford, in 1950, taking an honours degree in animal physiology in 1954. He then studied at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School and qualified in 1958 with both the conjoint and an Oxford degree.

Early surgical training was in Cambridge, Southampton and St Thomas', with the FRCS being passed in 1962. He was then appointed as a registrar to the Royal Portsmouth Hospital for two years, before returning to St Thomas' and embarking on a research project into post-thrombotic syndrome under the supervision of Frank B Cockett. This work resulted in the award of an Oxford DM MCh in 1967, an Arris and Gale Lecture delivered in 1970 (Annals RCSEng 1979, 47; 92-105) and a lifelong interest in venous disorders. There followed a succession of posts in the St Thomas' training circuit before he was appointed as a consultant to Lewisham Hospital in south London in 1976.

At Lewisham he practised the entire range of general surgery, but with a special interest in peripheral vascular surgery, including lymphology and phlebology. He was an active fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, becoming a member of council of both the surgical and the clinical sections, and chairman of the newly-formed venous forum. In 1984 he was appointed Hunterian Professor and delivered a lecture entitled 'The prevention and treatment of venous ulceration'. He published widely, principally on various aspects of venous disorders, including chapters in textbooks and, in 1991, a monograph, Leg ulcers: a practical approach to management (Butterworth-Heinemann), which went into several editions. In 1986 he was instrumental (with others) in founding the journal Phlebology and three years later became its editor. On relinquishing this post he was appointed editor emeritus. He was elected an honorary member of the Société de Française de Phlébologie in recognition of his considerable contributions to this specialty.

In private life he enjoyed sailing, cruising and ocean racing. As a young man he was an above average hockey and tennis player, and for many years enjoyed beagling, being master of Christchurch and New College beagles whilst an undergraduate. As a St Thomas's medical student, he contributed variously to the annual Christmas show and wrote several of the songs which became legendary. He confounded many of his student contemporaries by owning and driving a Rolls Royce, but he was not the only St Thomas's graduate of those days to do this! Of high intellect but quiet disposition, he had a keen wit and a dry sense of humour, always with a twinkle in his eye.

Married to Anne (née Turner), a St Thomas' nurse, they had three children: Verity, a literary editor; Rupert, a gastroenterologist at the Royal Free Hospital; and Samantha, a radiologist at St George's Hospital. In retirement he moved to the Isle of Wight, but died on 8 October 2010, aged 80, after a long battle with carcinoma of the bladder, a disease that he faced with typical stoicism.

Sir Barry Jackson

Sources used to compile this entry: Information from: Mrs Anne Negus and Dr Rupert Negus.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England