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Biographical entry O'Flynn, William Redmond (1927 - 1992)

MRCS and FRCS 1954; MB BCh BAO Dublin 1950.

12 April 1927
County Limerick, Ireland
28 April 1992
General surgeon and Vascular surgeon


William O'Flynn was born in County Limerick on 12 April 1927, into a family with a long tradition in medicine as general practitioners. Unfortunately no details of his forbears are available. After education at Presentation College, Bray, County Wicklow he entered the National University of Ireland in Dublin, graduating in 1950 and completing the FRCS four years later. After hospital resident appointments he was later a senior registrar at the Royal Marsden Hospital and clinical assistant at the Miller General Hospital, Greenwich. As he wanted to live and work in Britain he undertook National Service, which, as an Irish citizen, he could have avoided. He was commissioned into the RAMC in 1956 and served for two years, reaching the rank of major as surgical specialist in Gibraltar. He resisted pressure to remain in the army and, after further training posts, was appointed consultant surgeon at the Miller and at St Olave's Hospital in 1964. He became especially interested in peripheral vascular surgery and, on the death of S H Wass in 1970, he was invited to take on Wass's work at Guy's. He considered this a great honour and, with his innate modesty, did not realise that the invitation was due to the excellent reputation he had established at St Olave's.

O'Flynn had a wide knowledge of many subjects, especially literature, and had a legendary ability to produce appropriate and witty quotations for every occasion. He further evinced great kindness and understanding of human nature so that he was deeply appreciated by patients and all hospital staff. Only a few days before his death he was given a moving farewell by his fellow consultants, junior staff, nurses and domestic staff. When he died on 28 April 1992, aged 65, just two weeks after his retirement, he was survived by his wife, Doreen, a former nurse, and by his two sons, Richard and David, both of whom are doctors.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 18 May 1992; BMJ 1992 305 767].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England