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Biographical entry Paterson, John Mark Hamilton (1954 - 2013)

MB BS London 1977; FRCS 1982.

21 January 1954
Hong Kong
15 October 2013
Paediatric orthopaedic surgeon


John Mark Hamilton Paterson was a key figure in the development of children's orthopaedic services in the East End of London. He was born in Hong Kong on 21 January 1954 into a family with a long medical missionary tradition. His father, Edward Hamilton Paterson, was medical director of the United Christian Medical Service, Hong Kong, and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. His mother was Barbara Blanche Paterson née Knight. He was educated at Glenealy Junior School and King George V School, both in Hong Kong, and was then sent as a boarder to Eltham College in London for his sixth form years. After a gap year working in medical laboratories in Hong Kong, he went to Middlesex Hospital Medical School and qualified MB BS in 1977.

He held house posts in Norfolk and Norwich, and then worked for two years in Papua New Guinea as a medical officer, in charge of Kavieng Hospital. Once he returned to the UK, he trained in Guildford and Portsmouth. In 1984 and 1985 he was a registrar in orthopaedics at Portsmouth and Lord Mayor Treloar's Hospital, Alton, and in 1986 he was appointed senior registrar on the London Hospital training programme, working between the London Hospital and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. In addition, he undertook electives in San Diego and Newington, Connecticut, USA.

In 1990 he joined the staff of the London Hospital. Here he developed his interest in children's orthopaedic surgery, particularly neuromuscular disorders, including cerebral palsy.

He was also a visiting consultant in Jersey and regularly visited Hong Kong to teach orthopaedic trainees. He published around 60 papers, presented at numerous conferences and meetings, and examined for the FRCS (orthopaedics) and for the European Board of Orthopaedics and Traumatology. He was a member of the editorial board of The Bone and Joint Journal from 2005 and became chairman of the electronic publishing committee in 2008.

From 2009 to 2012 he was honorary secretary of the British Society for Children's Orthopaedic Surgery and in 2006 he was president of the orthopaedic section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

He took early retirement from the NHS and from 2009 to 2012 took part in six trips to Albania, assessing and operating on children with disability.

Outside medicine, his greatest love was flying and he had a private pilot's licence. He was also a keen skier, diver and musician.

In 1977 he married Sarah Henson, a Middlesex Hospital nurse. They had two sons, Luke and Jamie. On 15 October 2013 Paterson died of neoplastic disease, aged 59. He had been unwell for 18 months. The Mark Paterson Travelling fellowship, initiated and funded by the British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery and supported by the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology and the British Orthopaedic Association, has been named in his memory.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Bone and Joint Journal December 2013 Vol.95-B no.12 1726 - accessed 18 November 2015; Elthamians - accessed 18 November 2015; EFFORTnet; European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society - accessed 18 November 2015].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England