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Biographical entry Moore, Henry Dendy (1912 - 1992)

MC; MRCS and FRCS 1947; MB BS Sydney 1937.

8 January 1992
General surgeon


Henry Moore was born in Fiji in 1912, and graduated MB BS from Sydney in 1937. Following graduation he came to Britain with two research fellowships in 1938. He served in the RAMC throughout the war in the Middle East, Italy and Western Europe, and was awarded the MC in Belgium (for 'liberating a case of champagne for the Officers' Mess').

On demobilization , Moore worked as registrar and later surgical tutor in the professorial units of Bristol, Edinburgh, Baltimore, Oxford and Leeds. In 1955 he was appointed consultant general surgeon in Exeter. Many hospitals at this time were still hampered by the slow improvement in physical conditions, and Moore was allotted a makeshift ward and theatre on the site of the bombed Exeter City Hospital. As theatre ventilation was totally unsatisfactory, a meeting was held to discuss improvements. Moore had planted under the table a smoke bomb prepared by the Works Department, timed to go off during the meeting while the existing ventilator was working to capacity - but quite ineffectually, so after hurried evacuation the point was taken, and new equipment installed!

In Exeter, Moore rapidly made a reputation for himself as a surgeon of the highest calibre - although he was also known to be somewhat of a difficult character, often using extravagant language which could reduce nurses to tears. He trained a succession of registrars and senior registrars who were influenced both by his teaching and his example. He contributed many articles on surgical subjects to journals. His techniques were not always orthodox: he practised conservative surgery for breast cancer and non-operative treatment of leg ulcer long before they became the fashion in this country. His main interests were thyroid and paediatric surgery.

By the time he retired it had become clear that he was suffering from Parkinson's Disease which responded to the recent advances in treatment and enabled him to go on operating until the end of his working life. However, once he had retired neurological deterioration speeded up and he became increasingly crippled, which was very distressing for his family and friends.

He died on 8 January 1992, survived by his wife, the sculptress Jacqueline Heyse, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. Both sons followed their father into the medical profession, one becoming an orthopaedic surgeon and the other a consultant in hospice care.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1992 305 112, with portrait; West Eng Med J 1992 107 15].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England