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Biographical entry Kenny, Sir Patrick John (1914 - 1987)

KBE 1976; MRCS and FRCS 1940; MB BS Sydney 1936; MS 1946; FRACS 1944; Hon FRCPS Glasgow 1970.

12 January 1914
Sydney, Australia
2 June 1987
General surgeon


Sir John Kenny was born in Sydney, Australia, on 12 January 1914. His father, Patrick John Kenny, was a civil servant and his mother was Agnes Margaret, née Carberry. He attended Marcellin College, Sydney, and the University of Sydney Medical School where he was an honours graduate in 1936. Following graduation he became resident medical officer at St Vincent's Hospital and he also worked in the university department of anatomy, obtaining his primary Fellowship in 1937 and the final FRCS in 1940. While in England at this time, he enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Corps and he saw service in the Middle East and in the South Pacific areas. During his time in the Middle East he incurred the displeasure of higher authority by his insistent calling for blood transfusions and other resuscitation measures in the forward aid-posts. In this he proved ahead of his time and by the Falklands War, forty years later, many soldiers carried their litres of fluid into action with them.

On return to civilian life he was appointed to the staff of St Vincent's and Lewisham Hospitals, Sydney. In 1944 he became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and was a member of Council in 1959. He was President of the College from 1969 to 1971. Kenny served on the National Health and Medical Research Council as a member of Council, on the Medical Advisory Committee and as Chairman of the Traffic Injury Committee. He was a member of the Commonwealth Expert Group on Road Safety.

He served as a Councillor on the New South Wales branch of the BMA from 1957 to 1959. In 1963 he became a member of the New South Wales Medical Board, of which he became President in 1974. He was also Chairman of the Traffic Injury Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons from 1969 to 1976 and of the Road Safety Committee from 1970 to 1976.

While visiting England he was presented with the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1970. In 1976 he had the honour of becoming a Knight Commander of the British Empire.

In 1942 he married Beatrice Hammond. John was a keen golfer and in his youth was an excellent tennis player. Later he took an interest in gardening. His last illness was prolonged over a period of seven years and was a great trial to himself and his family. He died on 2 June 1987 survived by his wife and their two sons.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1987, 147, 297].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England