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Biographical entry Haigh, Edwin (1919 - 1993)

MRCS 1942; FRCS 1948; MB BS 1947; LRCP 1942.

25 April 1919
17 January 1993
Medical Officer and Paediatric surgeon


Edwin Haigh was born on 25 April 1919, the son of William Duthie Haigh who was a scientist for the British Scientific Research Association, and his wife, Annie Margaret Rhynhart. He went to the City of London School, then to King's College, obtaining a Warneford scholarship. He served with the North Staffordshire Regiment in the Middle East and Italy, was captured at Anzio and finished the war as a prisoner. He specialised in paediatric surgery and neonatology at Alder Hey Hospital and was Hunterian Professor in 1957, lecturing on The acute abdomen in neonates. In 1958 he changed career, joining the Ministry of Social Security as a medical officer and later senior medical officer (1968).

In retirement he pursued his interests of golf and travel. He had been a keen sportsman in his youth. He was a committed Christian. He was survived by his wife, Cora Margaret Teresa Roche, a theatre sister, whom he married on 13 October 1949. They had four children, Paulette, Lorraine, Aubrey and Cora, the youngest, who qualified in dentistry at King's College Hospital. His wife died in 1996. Edwin Haigh had an ambition to travel in retirement, and the ischaemic heart disease which was ultimately to claim his life first struck atop the Great Wall of China. He gave a harrowing account of how he was borne on a stretcher down hundreds of steps, in the grip of a myocardial infarct, past groups of friendly Chinese who were oblivious to the seriousness of his condition and who insisted on being photographed with him. He planned things better for his second heart attack: this time he was on holiday closer to his home in Huntingdon, and could be speedily admitted to his own son-in-law's intensive care unit in conditions of five-star luxury. He went on to have a coronary artery bypass graft in Papworth Hospital, but suffered his third and fatal infarct two years thereafter, and died on 17 January 1993.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1993 306 1683].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England