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Biographical entry Wengraf, Carol Lindsay (1938 - 2012)

MRCS 1962; FRCS 1967; MB BS London 1962; LRCP 1962.

21 July 1938
Stockport, Cheshire, UK
3 July 2012
Galicia, Spain
ENT surgeon


Carol Wengraf was a consultant ENT surgeon at the Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich Hospital and later at the University Hospital, Hull. In later life she started fencing and rose to compete and win international competitions in the veterans' class. She was the third of four children born to Frank and Winifred Slack née Beattie, but the first to survive to adulthood. Her father owned a knackery. Educated at Cheadle Hulme School in Stockport, Carol went on to study medicine at Guy's. There she was much influenced by Philip Reading, an ENT surgeon, who convinced her to specialise.

Her postgraduate training in ENT was at the Westminster Hospital and Guy's, and her first consultant appointment was on the Guy's circuit at Lewisham. There she established herself as a general ENT surgeon with a special interest in head and neck surgery. She was appointed at a time when out of the 300 ENT surgeons in the UK only four were female. She had exacting standards, which were much admired by her junior staff, if not always appreciated at the time, and was adored by her patients for the time and interest she invested in them. She was actively involved in her registrar's research projects and, as an assistant editor of the Journal of Laryngology and Otology, was well aware of the work needed to get a paper published.

In 1988 she moved to the University Hospital, Hull, conscious that she was devoting too much time both to commuting in London traffic and on administration. At that time the department in Hull was smaller and the opportunity to devote more time to clinical work was greater. Carol was also aware that she did not want her son David to spend his teenage years in south London. She served as an honorary secretary and later vice-president of the section of otology of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Carol met her husband, Alex Wengraf, at Guy's. After completing his dentistry training he chose, on the death of his parents, to take over the family antiques business. Sadly the marriage did not last. Her son David, who at the age of 11 started to develop a passion for fencing, was responsible for influencing his mother to follow his passion. Carol, a self confessed adrenaline junkie, tiring of driving her son around the country to compete, readily decided to try the sport for herself. She became addicted and over a period of 15 years reached a level of proficiency that enabled her to enter veterans' international competitions. She was both European and World champion in the sabre, and European champion in epée at the time of her death, which occurred suddenly on the 3 July 2012 whilst she was competing and winning her bout for the Welsh Veterans' in the Celtic challenge in Galicia. She was 73.

Carol Wengraf approached her work and her relaxation with the same thoroughness and enthusiasm, and she excelled. These high standards influenced her many trainees.

Neil Weir
David Wengraf

The Royal College of Surgeons of England