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Biographical entry Bingham, John Alexander Walton (1911 - 1983)

MRCS and FRCS 1938; MB BCh BAO Belfast 1934; MCh 1946.

1 February 1911
1 January 1983
Thoracic surgeon


Born on 1 February 1911, in Belfast, the son of John Alexander Bingham, pharmaceutical chemist, and Essie Jane (née Carlson), John was educated at the Methodist College and Queen's University, Belfast. He won the Musgrave Prize in pathology and the Coulter and McWhitty Prizes. After graduating MB, BCh, BAO in 1934, he was resident at the Royal Victoria Hospital before moving to King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor, where he was resident surgical officer for three years. He became FRCS in 1938 and spent a year at Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, before joining the Indian Medical Service in September, 1939. His experience at Roehampton was invaluable in India and Malaya where he served throughout the war. He dealt with very many battle casualties and developed much experience of amputations and painful stumps. His work on these problems led to a thesis on the mechanism and management of causalgia, for which he was awarded the degree of MCh in 1946.

He attained the rank of Major in the IMS and returned, soon after the war ended, to the Brompton Hospital, where he developed the interest and skills that determined his future career. He was briefly a surgical registrar in Belfast before being appointed honorary consultant thoracic surgeon to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in 1947, and consultant thoracic surgeon to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in 1950. He served these hospitals until he retired in 1976. Bingham was a reserved, almost monosyllabic man, a surgeon of careful technique. He was awarded a cricket "Blue" in his undergraduate days and with three medical friends, he enjoyed an unbroken foursome at golf for 33 years. In 1967 he had his second myocardial infarct while playing golf in the south of Ireland but he returned to the game as soon as he was fit.

He died on 1 January 1983, a month short of his 72nd birthday, survived by his brother. He was not married.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1983, 286, 1222 with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England