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Biographical entry Wyman, John Bernard (1916 - 1994)

MBE 1945;MRCS 1941; FRCS by election 1981; FFARCS 1953; DA 1945; LRCP 1941; FKC by election 1980; LRCP 1941.

24 May 1916
21 September 1994


John Wyman, known to his friends as 'Jabe' or 'JB', was born in London on 24 May 1916, the son of Louis Wyman, who was in the clothing business, and his wife Bertha. He was educated at Davenant Foundation School and King's College London, going on to the Westminster Hospital Medical School for his clinical work. He qualified in 1941 and joined the RAMC in the following year, serving in North Africa , Italy and India, reaching the rank of major and being awarded the MBE in 1945. During the war he gained some experience of anaesthetics and took the DA soon after he was demobilised in 1945. He was appointed consultant anaesthetist at the Woolwich Memorial Hospital and then in 1948 he joined the staff of the Westminster Hospital, where he was to spend the rest of his career. He was particularly interested in hypotensive anaesthesia, using the recently introduced hexamethonium, and as the first anaesthetist to be appointed a Hunterian professor he delivered a lecture on the subject in 1953. In the same year he was elected FFARCS. He subsequently became an expert in epidural anaesthesia for childbirth, using a catheter to maintain appropriate levels over the course of some hours.

In 1964 he was appointed dean of the Westminster Medical School and held that post through eighteen taxing years. He oversaw many changes in medical education and spent an inordinate amount of time discussing the various proposals for amalgamations of medical schools in London. Happily he was endowed with a wit and humour which enabled him to withstand the stress of endless committee meetings. His work was recognized by the award of the FRCS by election in 1981.

In June 1949 he married Joan Beighton, by whom he had three sons, Peter, Michael and Christopher, and a daughter, Susan. He retired in 1981 to cultivate his Sussex garden and died on 21 September 1994.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1995 310 933, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England