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Biographical entry Paterson, Duncan McColl (1938 - 2014)

MRCS LRCP 1961; MB BS London 1961; FRCS 1968; FRCSC 1972.

11 March 1938
27 June 2014
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
General surgeon


Duncan McColl Paterson was a consultant surgeon at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, from 1970 to 2006. He was born in Glasgow on 11 March 1938, the second son of Joseph Craig Paterson, an engineer, and Flora Paterson née Forbes. He was educated at Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow for his primary and early secondary schooling, and then went on to Chislehurst and Sidcup County Grammar School for Boys in Sidcup, Kent. He was an outstanding athlete and became the school victor ludorum in his final year and represented his school at rugby, gymnastics and athletics.

He gained an open scholarship to read medicine at Westminster Medical School. His preclinical studies were carried out at King's College, before clinical training at the Westminster. Among his clinical tutors were Sir Stanford Cade and Harold Ellis, both very distinguished surgeons and teachers.

He qualified in 1961 and then completed a number of general training posts before deciding to seek specialist training in surgery. While working for Donald McGavin at Leicester Royal Infirmary he obtained his FRCS in 1968 at his first attempt.

Throughout this period, he was an active member of the Reserve Army Medical Services. In addition to regular courses in the management of trauma with the Reserve, he also completed parachute and small arms training. He maintained this interest in Canada, where he held the rank of ensign forester in the Gray and Simcoe Foresters, an infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces Reserve.

In 1969 he moved to Canada. He completed the surgical training programme at the department of surgery at McMaster University and was the chief resident there from 1969 to 1970. He obtained his FRCS (Canada) in 1972.

After completing his training at McMaster, he joined a specialist practice in the rapidly developing town of Barrie, Ontario. At the same time, he joined the consulting staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, where he worked for over 25 years. When he arrived all major trauma cases were transferred to Toronto. His extensive experience allowed him to manage most cases of general, orthopaedic, thoracic and head trauma locally. As Barrie expanded, more specialists joined the staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital and Duncan focused on the management of colorectal malignancy. For many years he was the only specialist in the area performing colonoscopy essential in the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. He was a co-investigator for the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project trials cooperative group, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute.

He played a very full part in the management of the Royal Victoria Hospital, serving terms as chief of surgery, chair of the intensive care unit, chair of the ambulatory care committee and chair of the endoscopic services committee. He was a member of the ethics committee. He also served a term as president of the medical staff. As the Royal Victoria Hospital facilities were expanded to meet increased demand, he served as chair of the acute care planning committee for the new hospital.

He served as a member of the complaints committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

After his retirement in 2006 from full surgical practice, he became the regional co-ordinator for surgical oncology for the area of North Simcoe Muskoka. He was also invited by the department of oncology at the Royal Victoria Hospital to give further surgical opinions. He also served as an active board member of Gilda's Club, which provides supportive care for patients and their families.

His qualities as a caring a practitioner are reflected by the many tributes from patients added to his online obituary. Among his colleagues Duncan will be remembered for his enthusiasm, his sense of fairness and his capacity for hard work.

His main extramural interests were sailing and cars. He was a founder member of the Barrie Yacht Club and regularly chartered yachts in the Caribbean for his winter breaks. He was a keen driver and became the Ontario champion at Mini racing on ice. In his later years he was working on the restoration of a very early Jaguar E Type.

He married twice. He died on 27 June 2014, aged 76, and was survived by his wife Marjorie, his two sons and daughter from his first marriage to Briar (née Hepworth), Ian, Ross and Bryher, and his step-daughters, Jennifer and Lana.

James Paterson
Robert Paterson

Sources used to compile this entry: [Steckley-Gooderham funeral homes Dr Duncan Paterson - accessed 27 February 2016].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England