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Biographical entry Parkes, Keren Isabel (1904 - 1993)

MRCS 1928; FRCS 1932; MB BS 1929; MD 1931; LRCP 1928.

18 December 1904
2 June 1993
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Keren Parkes was born on 18 December 1904 in Dulwich, the only daughter of Alexander Parkes, an accountant. She was educated at Streatham College for Girls, Somerville House, St Leonards-on-Sea and went on to King's College and King's College Hospital. At the age of twelve she decided that she wanted to become a doctor. She was determined to go to a medical school that admitted both men and women and was one of five women in her year. Obstetrics was her chief interest. She won entrance and first and second year scholarships, as well as two Jelf medals and seven prizes. Sir William Gilliatt described her as 'one of the most brilliant students we have had at King's College Hospital'. She held house surgeon and tutor and registrar posts in obstetrics and gynaecology at King's and then was surgical registrar at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital from 1930 to 1932. She was much interested in the hopes and fears of patients, and held strong Christian beliefs.

She was appointed a magistrate in 1946, and held high rank in the Soroptimist movement. In 1938 she was invited to India to confine the wife of a rajah, travelling by flying boat to Karachi and then by steamer and special train. She safely delivered a son and heir.

Latterly she was confined to a nursing home, as an amputee, but her principles and wisdom on contemporary topics never faltered, and she died on 2 June 1993, aged 86 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1993, 307, 797, with portrait].

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