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Biographical entry Damato, Pierre Jean (1924 - 2000)

FRCS and FRCS 1963; MD Malta 1942; DLO London 1951.

27 January 1924
Paola, Malta
19 February 2000
ENT surgeon


Pierre Damato was a consultant ENT surgeon in Malta. He was born in Paola, Malta, on 27 January 1924. His father was Joseph Damato, an architect, and his mother was Josephina Farrugia. His elder brother, Emanuel, was a medical practitioner in Malta and another brother, Francis, was a consultant opthalmologist, and also a Fellow of the College. Pierre obtained his secondary education at the Lyceum in Malta, and then went on to the University of Malta in 1939, where he qualified MD in 1942 and registered as a doctor in 1946. He came to England for further medical education in 1948 and held appointments as house surgeon at Gloucester Royal Infirmary and at Harrow Hospital. He then opted to study otolaryngology and in December 1950 was appointed to the Institute of Laryngology, where he passed the diploma in laryngology and otology in 1951 and then worked as a registrar for F C Ormerod.

Returning to Malta, he was appointed to the ENT department of the Department of Health and later became the senior consultant. He felt that, as many of his colleagues who were appointed later had the FRCS, his position would be more secure if he held the diploma too. He came to Liverpool in 1962 and worked in the department there on the MCh course in otolaryngology. While he was there he passed the FRCS. Returning to Malta, he was appointed lecturer in ENT. In 1977, the political situation in Malta worsened. Damato became outraged by the new curbs imposed on Maltese medical staff, and this led him to resign.

He returned to England and was appointed to Lanarkshire as a consultant. He soon found that the climate was inhospitable after the warmth of Malta. He went to Sweden where he studied Swedish with a view to practising there. However, in 1979, he returned to Malta as the political situation had cooled and remained there until his retirement in 1984. He then worked for two further years as head of department in the Military Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Damato had an interesting personality. He had great enthusiasm for his chosen discipline and was an able and compassionate doctor. He published papers on a variety of topics, including neonatal teratoma and parapharyngeal chordoma. However, his strong sense of what was right and wrong sometimes led him into difficulties. But he was not only a crusader for his rights: his friends knew him as a man with a wonderful sense of humour, with a cynical view of those who exercised political power.

In 1952 Damato married Margareta Gurion, a nurse who had trained in Sweden and in England, and they had three children, two boys and a girl. One son, Bertil, is the Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool. Pierre Damato died on 19 February 2000, following a cardiac bypass operation from which he never regained consciousness.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England