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Biographical entry Kelman, Ranfurly Percival Stanley (1898 - 1965)

MRCS 1924; FRCS 1926; MB ChB Otago 1921; FRCS Ed 1926.

Ranfurly, New Zealand
11 December 1965
General surgeon


Ranfurly Percival Stanley Kelman was born in 1898 in Ranfurly, Central Otago, New Zealand, and went to the Otago Boys' High School where he distinguished himself at both rugby football and cricket. He then went to Otago University where he graduated in medicine in 1921. He spent the next two years in junior hospital appointments in the Auckland General Hospital and in 1924 came to England and obtained the Conjoint Diploma. This was but the first step towards higher qualification in surgery, and he succeeded in obtaining the Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh and of England in 1926.

In his training he was greatly influenced by Cecil Joll and he thus acquired not only a masterly surgical technique but also a special interest in thyroid and gastric surgery. In 1927 he settled in Birmingham as both surgeon and medical superintendent of the Selly Oak Hospital, which he served continuously, apart from a period of absence on war service, till he retired in 1962.

As he was a Territorial officer he was sent to France in 1939 as Lieutenant-Colonel in charge of a surgical division, and after Dunkirk he was sent to India where he was concerned chiefly with casualties from the Burma front. On his return to Selly Oak he resumed the formidable task of reorganizing and modernizing the hospital, the present outstanding reputation of which is attributable largely to his untiring efforts and his gentle diplomacy.

He married Margaret Barrow whose brother later became Lord Mayor of Birmingham, and her death early in 1965 was a severe shock to him. His own health had been failing for a while, and this accounted for his premature retirement in 1962. His death occurred on 11 December 1965.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1966, 1, 238].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England