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Biographical entry Parsons, Kenneth Owen (1898 - 1986)

MC 1918; MRCS 1924; FRCS 1926; LRCP 1924.

12 January 1898
13 June 1986
General surgeon


Kenneth Owen Parsons was born at Swansea on 12 January 1898, the second son of Tom Parsons, a printer and his wife Florence, née Williams, and was educated at Swansea Grammar School and later at Bristol Grammar School. On leaving school in 1916 he joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers; he was twice wounded and in 1918 was awarded the Military Cross. After demobilisation in 1919 he entered the medical school of Guy's Hospital and during his student years was awarded the Begley studentship in 1920 as well as being prosector in anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1921-22. He qualified in 1924 and after junior appointments at Guy's Hospital under Sir Alfred Fripp, C H Fagge and R Davies-Colley, he passed the FRCS in 1926 and was appointed surgical registrar.

In 1929 in search of further experience he went to Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham, and on the day of his arrival his ward received eighteen emergency admissions, keeping him in the operating theatre from mid-afternoon until 3am. He had originally intended to remain in Birmingham for only a few weeks but he was so impressed by the opportunities offered that he applied successfully for a permanent appointment and a busy surgical workload ensued especially during the war years when the city was heavily bombed. His particular interests were trauma and gastrointestinal haemorrhage and in conjunction with Louis Aldridge he described the role of the partial gastrectomy in the management of bleeding peptic ulcer. In 1951 he became medical superintendent and undertook administrative duties in addition to his clinical work; the new outpatient department of the hospital was a direct result of his endeavour and a particular source of pride.

He retired in 1957 and went to live in a Regency house at Tregony, Cornwall, where he had time to pursue his hobby of growing alpines. He was an enthusiastic apiarist with a special knowledge of diseases of bees; he also assembled a superb collection of ancient clocks which he maintained and repaired personally. His wife Dora, whom he married in 1928 predeceased him in 1984 and there were no children. He died at his home on 13 June 1986.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1986, 293, 272].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England