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Biographical entry Taylor, Gerard William (1920 - 1995)

MRCS 1943; FRCS 1948; MB BS London 1943; MS 1955; Hon FACS 1978; LRCP 1943.

23 September 1920
Natal, South Africa
3 January 1995
General surgeon


Gerard William Taylor was born in Natal, South Africa, on 23 September 1920, the son of William Ivan Taylor, an engineer. His early education was at Bemrose School, Derby, and he then entered St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College, qualifying in 1943. After junior hospital appointments he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1944 to 1947 in France and Egypt.

After demobilisation he was awarded the Hallett prize in the primary Fellowship and having been appointed surgical registrar at Redhill passed the final examination in 1948. He was a Fulbright scholar and assistant resident at Stanford University Hospital, San Francisco, in 1950 to 1951, training under Dr Emile Holman and Dr Frank Gerbode, and after his return was a reader in surgery at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School and honorary consultant surgeon to the hospital in 1955. He had acquired considerable expertise and surgical experience and in addition pursued academic research in conjunction with Professor J B Kinmonth into the value of lymphangiography to elucidate the pathology of lymphoedema. Further research was carried out into the treatment of atheromatous occlusion of limb arteries using stored homografts, woven Teflon and knitted Dacron. The techniques and results were described in a Hunterian lecture given in 1962. This clearly demonstrated the value of femoro-popliteal bypass surgery in limb salvage.

In 1960 he succeeded Sir James Paterson Ross as Professor of Surgery in the University of London and director of the professorial surgical unit at St Bartholomew's Hospital. In addition to a heavy surgical workload he chaired many academic and hospital committees and was invited to be visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Melbourne and in New Zealand. He was examiner to the Universities of London, Cambridge, Liverpool and Birmingham, and to Trinity College, Dublin. He was also consultant vascular surgeon to the army.

He never stood for the Council of the College but served as President of the Association of Surgeons, the Surgical Research Society and the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland. After retiring from his chair in the University of London he spent three years from 1984 to 1987 as Professor of Surgery at King Khalid University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

He married Olivia Gay in 1955 and they had one son, now a consultant anaesthetist, and one daughter. He died on 3 January 1995, survived by his wife and children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1995 311 185; Daily Telegraph 1 February 1995].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England