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Biographical entry Oldfield, James (1923 - 1992)

MRCS and FRCS 1950; MB BS 1945.

10 July 1923
8 December 1992
General surgeon and Urologist


James Oldfield was born in Sunderland on 10 July 1923. His father was Thomas Oldfield, a shipwright, and his mother was Annie, née Cockerill-Lawrence. He attended Bede Collegiate School, Sunderland, and then went to Durham University to study medicine on a Miners' Association Scholarship. He attended Durham University School of Medicine in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and qualified MB BS in December 1945. During his training he was particularly influenced by J Brumwell and George Feggetter in Newcastle, and later by Sir Clifford Naunton Morgan, when he spent a year at St Mark's Hospital in London in 1956.

He served as a captain in the RAMC from 1946 to 1948, seeing service in Egypt and Greece. It was at the British Army Hospital in Kyfissia that he first met his future wife, Patricia.

He gained his FRCS in 1950. He was demonstrator in anatomy at Newcastle in 1948, a senior surgical registrar at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Newcastle, and consultant surgeon to North Ormesby Hospital, Middlesbrough, from 1981 to 1984.

James Oldfield was a popular surgeon in Middlesbrough and Teesside and he ultimately became the first pure urologist appointed to the area. He built up a very big department latterly at South Cleveland Hospital. He was active in local BMA matters in the Middlesbrough Division and President of the North of England Surgical Society in1986. He was always popular and approachable, and a good colleague to be with. He loved food and wine and good company and took great pleasure in teasing his colleagues. His interests, outside medicine, were music, fly fishing and golf.

He married Patricia Mary on 15 September 1951 and they had four children: Jacqueline (a personnel manager), Edward (a surveyor), Christopher (who was handicapped) and Caroline (studying psychology).

James Oldfield suffered a series of myocardial infarcts which led to his early death on 8 December 1992.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Family recollections; personal reminiscences by the late H Brendan Devlin, FRCS; BMJ 1993 306 997].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England