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Biographical entry Phillips, John Henry Charles (1917 - 1983)

MRCS 1941; FRCS 1948; MB BCh Cambridge 1943; LRCP 1941.

24 April 1917
10 June 1983
General surgeon


John Henry Charles Phillips was born in Hampstead, London, on 24 April 1917, the son of Samuel Phillips, an import and export businessman, and his wife Elise. He was educated at Heathmount School, Hampstead, and Hillsbrow School, Redhill, before going to the Leys School, Cambridge. His medical studies were at Jesus College, Cambridge, and later at St Bartholomew's Hospital. After qualifying he served in the Army from October 1942 to March 1943 when he was discharged on medical grounds and took up the appointment of resident surgical officer at St Mark's Hospital, working with W B Gabriel, E T C Milligan and O V Lloyd-Davies. In the following year he was resident surgeon at Scunthorpe and District Hospital and from 1945 to 1948 was surgical registrar at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne under T A Hindmarsh and G Y Feggetter. He passed the FRCS in 1948 and for the next seven years served as senior registrar to R O Lee at Northampton General Hospital before being appointed consultant at Kettering where he remained until his retirement in 1982.

In addition to undertaking a heavy surgical workload and being a remarkably gifted surgeon, he undertook much committee work. He served on the Kettering and District Hospital Management Committee and was Chairman of the Oxford Regional Registrars Committee; he was also a member of the Regional Committee for Hospital Medical Services and latterly of the Central Committee. He was a regular attender at meetings of the Association of Surgeons, the Proctological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Vascular Surgical Society of Great Britain and the International Society of Surgery. A particularly prized honour was his appointment as President of the St Mark's Association in 1976. He had the gift of requiring very little sleep and would have operated well into the night had he been permitted to do so. Instead night duty staff were often treated to late-night teaching sessions, while domiciliary visits could be made at unorthodox hours. He was an excellent lepidopterist and bred many species of rare butterflies and moths, a hobby he combined with photography. In this connection he contributed papers to the Transactions of the British Entomological and Natural History Society, as well as articles on colo-proctology in the medical press. His other interest was motor racing and he was course surgeon at Silverstone.

He married Fran Bradwell in 1945 and they had a son and a daughter who qualified from St Bartholomew's Hospital and is an anaesthetist. He died on 10 June 1983 after a road accident, aged 66.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1983, 287, 619; St Mark's Hospital. London: a social history of a specialist hospital, by L Granshaw, London, 1985, p.496].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England