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Biographical entry Hayward, John Isaac (1910 - 1999)

MRCS and FRCS 1938; MB BS Melbourne 1933; MD 1936; MS 1937; FRACS 1944; FACCP 1958.

16 July 1910
Melbourne, Australia
14 July 1999
Thoracic surgeon


John Hayward was a thoracic surgeon based in Melbourne. He was born in East Brunswick, Melbourne, on 16 July 1910. His father, William Isaac Hayward, was a schoolmaster, and his mother, Ellen Grace née Maling, was a nurse. His education was marked at every step by scholarships and prizes. He won a scholarship to Wesley College, but his father preferred University High School, and within a month he had been awarded the Freemasons' King Edward VII memorial scholarship there. Having been dux of the school, he left with a full government scholarship to Melbourne University to read medicine. There he gained first class honours and exhibitions each year, passing the first primary FRCS examination to be offered in Melbourne, and qualifying with the Jamieson prize in the year that the first pneumonectomy was performed in Melbourne.

After junior appointments at the Melbourne Hospital, he won the Alwyn Stewart scholarship, and, whilst working as surgical clinical assistant at the Melbourne Hospital, he taught pathology and physiology for the next two years, during which time he made important innovations in the method of pleural drainage and gained his MD and MS.

He realised that advances in thoracic surgery were going to require specialization and decided to go to London. There he passed the final FRCS, and went to the Brompton Hospital, first as house physician and then as RSO, falling under the influence of J E H Roberts and Russell Brock. During the Blitz, he served as thoracic surgeon to the Emergency Medical Service, and in 1941 joined the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, serving in the Middle East, New Guinea and Morotai, attaining the rank of Major.

After the war, he returned to Melbourne, as the first thoracic surgeon to the Central Hospital, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and the Repatriation Hospital at Heidelberg. Until he was obliged to retire at the age of 56, he became renowned as an outstanding teacher and trainer of thoracic surgeons, reporting his first 284 closed mitral valvotomies in 1966, with a mortality of 5 per cent. In the early days of cardiac by-pass surgery, he fought to set up an animal unit where the necessary techniques could be learned, overcoming intense local opposition. Together with Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop he developed new techniques in oesophageal surgery.

In the Royal Australasian College he was a foundation member of the thoracic section, a member of the library committee, and of the Court of Examiners.

In 1955 he led a team of self-contained Australian units to New Guinea, where there was an appalling incidence of tuberculosis. In 1959, under the Colombo plan, he led another team on a lecture tour to Malaya, Thailand and Burma, and subsequently he accepted a number of their surgical trainees on his unit.

In 1941, he married Ethel née Alty, a St Thomas's Hospital nurse, by whom he had three daughters, Mary Elizabeth, Ruth Alty and Jean Marjorie. She predeceased him in 1991. After her death he began to write a book entitled Sharing for life which was published posthumously in 2000. He died on 14 July 1999.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Australian Physiotherapy Association Victorian Branch Newsletter September 1999; UMMS/Chiron 2000].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England