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Biographical entry Hutchinson, William Robert Soutter (1908 - 1978)

MRCS 1933; FRCS 1935; MB BCh Cambridge 1937; LRCP 1933.

21 June 1978
General surgeon


William Robert Soutter Hutchinson, the son of a general practitioner, was born at Cannock in Staffordshire and educated at Sedbergh, where he developed his love of the country and the walking and fishing he enjoyed all his life. He then proceeded to Cambridge and completed his medical studies at St Thomas's Hospital, qualifying in 1933. Having seen a gleaming set of surgical instruments in his father's surgery, he early decided he would like to use them, and in 1935 he took the FRCS. He gained his early experience at Huddersfield and then became resident assistant surgeon at the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton. During the second world war he also dealt with service cases at neighbouring hospitals. In 1946 he began two years in the RAMC, mainly in Germany. This was not entirely to his liking, as he was a shy, independent person. On returning to Wolverhampton he became consultant surgeon to the Royal Hospital and to the Dudley Group, serving both strenuously until 1962. At this time the general surgical work at Wolverhampton was brought within one service and he added work at New Cross Hospital to that of the Royal Hospital. Before he retired he was President of the West Midlands Surgical Society.

He was a familiar, friendly figure with a long rapid stride, always with pipe at the corner of his mouth and ready to discourse on any subject. He was a rapid and neat operator, a pleasure to watch - especially his gastric surgery - depending entirely on plain catgut. He believed unwaveringly in the advantage of radical mastectomy in preventing local recurrence in breast cancer. In his later years he took under his wing a number of Polish surgeons seconded to this country for further experience. He was a man of simple tastes and warm heart who cared very little for the material rewards of his work. In his last illness he was devotedly nursed by his wife Audrey and his three daughters, one of whom trained in nursing at the Middlesex Hospital. He died on 21 June, 1978, aged 70 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1978, 2, 284].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England