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Biographical entry Shaw, Peter Cosmo (1934 - 2012)

MB BS London 1957; FRCS Edin 1961; FRCS 1965.

24 February 1934
14 April 2012
Orthopaedic surgeon


Peter Cosmo Shaw was an orthopaedic surgeon in Bromley. He was born in Streatham, London, on 24 February 1934, the son of Eric Cosmo Shaw, a dental surgeon and orthodontist, and Dorothy Margaret Shaw née Butler, a maths teacher. Shaw's grandfather, David Cosmo Shaw, a dentist in Aberdeen, was said to have assisted Sir Arthur Keith in examining the jaw of the notorious 'Piltdown man', which was claimed to be an example of an early human ancestor and was later proved to be a hoax. Shaw was educated at Dulwich, but spent some time at school in Scotland when he was evacuated to an aunt in Scotland during the Second World War. He went on to Guy's Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1957.

He held house surgeon posts at Guy's and St Helier hospitals, where he was influenced by the general surgeon Aubrey York Mason. He then joined the RAMC for his National Service, choosing to take a short service commission. He entered as a lieutenant and served for three years as a surgeon at the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich. He left the Army in 1963 having been promoted to the rank of captain.

From 1963 to 1964 he was a surgical registrar at Sutton General Hospital. He was then a casualty officer at St James' Hospital, Balham, and a senior house officer at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital for a further six months.

He returned to Guy's Hospital in 1965, as a surgical registrar in plastic surgery. From 1966, for 18 months, he was a senior registrar in orthopaedics at Guy's, and then at King's College Hospital for another four months.

In 1969 he became a locum consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the Bromley group, working at Farnborough, Bromley, Beckenham, Sydenham Children's and Cheyne hospitals. In October of that year he was appointed to the staff of these hospitals. From 1985 he also taught orthopaedic surgery. He retired from the NHS in 1999 and from private practice in 2002.

Earlier in his career he was particularly interested in hand surgery, but later focused on all forms of joint replacement surgery, especially hip replacement. He enjoyed being able to help his patients and greatly loved teaching his junior doctors. He was generally admired and respected by his medical colleagues and the nursing staff. An anaesthetist, who was also a friend, wrote: 'His operating was neat beyond compare, wielding his tools like a paintbrush, unhurried but no time wasted, punctual, never a harsh word and never ever flustered.'

He was a member of the British Orthopaedic Association and KROC (King's Rotational Orthopaedic Club).

Outside medicine, he enjoyed squash (playing to county standard), tennis, scuba diving and underwater photography, gardening, walking, swimming and horse riding. He liked to draw and painted in oils and acrylics.

He married Angela Dodman, a theatre sister, in 1958. They had a daughter, Jennifer Caryl, and a son, Nigel Cosmo, and four grandchildren. Peter Cosmo Shaw died on 14 April 2012 from a glioblastoma. He was 78.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [Peter Cosmo Shaw CVs, RCS archive].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England