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Biographical entry Parnis, Roger Oscar (1923 - 1993)

MBE 1965; MRCS and FRCS 1952; MD Malta 1946; DTMH Liverpool 1960; FACS 1972; FRACS 1986.

6 October 1923
Sliema, Malta
2 September 1993
General surgeon


Roger Parnis was born on 6 October 1923 in Sliema, Malta. His father, Eric, was a Judge, and his mother was Lucy, née Chapelle. His uncle, Henry Parnis, was a psychiatrist who spent some years working at Colney Hatch Mental Hospital in North London and another uncle, Edward Chapelle, spent most of his life working as a GP in Tillicoultry, Scotland.

He attended St Catherine's Preparatory School in Malta, followed by the Lyceum and the University of Malta Medical School. He took up an appointment as surgical specialist in Western Nigeria in 1956, remaining there until 1969. He also became senior lecturer in surgery at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, and was much influenced by Professor W W Davey, Professor of surgery of the University of Ibadan and by Mr J J Shipman, surgeon to the Hitchen Hospital, Nigeria.

In 1971 he became lecturer in surgery at the University of Malta and surgeon to St Luke's Hospital. Due to the 'Doctors' strike' of 1978 he left Malta, along with many other Maltese doctors, and settled in Australia, working in Barmera, South Australia and Inverell, NSW. In 1988 he went to Papua New Guinea and worked for two years at the Vunapope St Mary's Hospital, near Rabaul. It was an intensely satisfying time of his life. On his return to Australia he joined a locum service.

He married Anne, née Caruanagalizia, a social sciences graduate, in 1957, and they had four children - Francis, FRACP, a medical oncologist, Clara, a diabetes nurse consultant, Catherine, a media consultant, and Eric, an economist.

Roger's main interests were jogging, yoga, gardening and wine tasting. His fatal heart attack took place after jogging while on holiday in Canada, 'an event that would have made him happy, as he was proud of his prowess at jogging' wrote his wife.

He published clinical articles on a variety of subjects such as hernia repair, obesity and amputation. Non-medical publications included two travel guides Exploring Gozo (1966), Exploring Malta (1972), Of wines and spirits (1977) and an autobiography Of no fixed address (1990).

He died on 2 September 1993, survived by his wife and family.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from his widow, Mrs Anne Parnis].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England