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Biographical entry Whyte, David (1889 - 1950)

MRCS and FRCS 14 December 1922; MB Otago 1912; FRACS 1928.

7 September 1889
Duntocher, Scotland
29 December 1950
Wellington, New Zealand
General surgeon


Born at Duntocher, Scotland, on 7 September 1889, the eldest child of the Rev Alexander Whyte and Helen Inglis Pettigrew Shanks, his wife. The family went to New Zealand in 1897, and he was educated at the Boys High School at Napier, and at the Otago Medical School, Dunedin, where he graduated in 1912, and held resident posts at the Dunedin Hospital. During the war of 1914-18 he served in the RAMC in France with the Devon Regiment, and on the North West Frontier of India. He took the Fellowship in 1922 though not previously a Member, and after serving as house surgeon in 1923 at the Royal Cancer Hospital, London, went back to New Zealand.

He settled in practice at 279 Willis Street, Wellington, and was appointed assistant surgeon to the Wellington Hospital in 1924 and surgeon in 1926, becoming senior surgeon in 1940 and consulting surgeon in 1949. He was interested in cancer research, which he carried on with the support of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, of which he became a Fellow in 1928. He was secretary of the New Zealand committee of the College from 1939 to 1945, and also for some years assistant editor of the New Zealand Medical Journal. He was chairman of the Wellington Cancer Consultation Committee.

Whyte married in 1923 Phillis Edna Lewis, who survived him with two sons. He practised at Kelvin Chambers, 16 Terrace, Wellington, and died on 29 December 1950, aged 61, at Kelburn, Wellington. He was a good classical scholar, and read widely but critically in professional literature. He was an outstanding abdominal surgeon, and made important advances in thoracic surgery, particularly the surgery of parathyroid tumours.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1951, 1, 749; NZ med J 1951, 50, 63, with portrait and appreciation by Dr John Cairney; information from Mrs Whyte, through David Markham and Co, accountants].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England