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Biographical entry Adlington, Peter (1932 - 2011)

MRCS 1956; FRCS 1963; MB BS Lond 1956; LRCP 1956; DLO 1962.

8 April 1932
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
29 December 2011
ENT surgeon


Peter Adlington was an ear, nose and throat surgeon to the West and East Dorset Health Authorities between 1969 and 1997. He was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, on 8 April 1932. His father Basil was an ear, nose and throat surgeon and a general practitioner, and also a fellow of the College. His mother was Katherine Adlington née Williams. Peter went to school at Worcester Royal Grammar School and then attended Epsom College from 1945 to 1950, where he was captain of rugby. His family had a strong connection with King's College Hospital. His father had trained there, his aunt was a nurse at King's, as was Peter's future wife, Margaret.

Peter went to King's College Hospital Medical School in 1950 and qualified in 1956. After pre-registration house officer posts he joined the Parachute Regiment to carry out his National Service and later transferred to the SAS and saw active service in Malaya and Oman.

On returning to civilian life, he was Leverhulme research lecturer in the department of anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons and, between 1976 and 1982, was examiner in part one of the diploma in otolaryngology. He held various training posts in London, before becoming a senior registrar in the ENT department at King's College Hospital. There he worked for Sir Terence Cawthorne, William Daggett and Roland Lewis.

He was appointed to his consultant post in Dorset in 1968. Until his arrival the consultant at West Dorset was single-handed and Peter's time was split between Weymouth and Poole General Hospital. After about 10 years another full-time consultant was appointed in West Dorset and Peter then spent all his time centred on Poole Hospital. He took part in all aspects of the ENT department's work at Poole, taking a particular interest in education and the training of the junior staff. He specialised in reconstructive nasal surgery, and his colleagues referred this work to him.

He undertook research projects throughout his career, publishing 12 papers. In 1967 he investigated the ultrastructure of the saccus endolymphaticus at a time when surgical decompression of the saccus was thought to be helpful in the management of Ménière's disease (J Laryngol Otol 1967 Jul;81[7]:759-76). He carried out a controlled study of adenotonsillectomy in children, which was published in 1967 (J Laryngol Otol 1967 Jul;81[7]:777-90) and subsequently, with consultant colleagues and senior registrars, investigated the bacteriology and virology of secretory otitis media (J Laryngol Otol 1969 Feb;83[2]:161-73, (J Laryngol Otol 1980 Feb;94[2]:191-6). As part of his interest in reconstructive nasal surgery he investigated the effect of the preparation of cartilage grafts on their long-term survival by implanting differently prepared grafts in laboratory animals.

When he first moved to Dorset he lived in the village of Horton, which was conveniently situated for the road journey to Weymouth and Poole. In Horton he had a large garden, which he continued to develop during his time there. He was always keen on sport, played rugby at school and for the United Hospitals team when he was a student. He was a good tennis player and went on playing almost to his retirement. He took up cycling in retirement, undertaking several of the long distance national routes and made cycling tours in Thailand, Italy and regular trips to France

He retired in 1997 and moved to Wootton St Lawrence to be closer to one of his daughters. He developed a rare, slowly degenerative neurological illness and died on 29 September 2011. He was survived by his wife Margaret née Jefferies, whom he married in 1968, and their two daughters, one of whom is a consultant in genitourinary medicine.

Alan Bracewell

The Royal College of Surgeons of England