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Biographical entry Kennedy, Stuart Charles (1936 - 1999)

MRCS and FRCS 1965; MB ChB Birmingham 1959.

25 February 1936
Wednesbury, West Midlands
30 June 1999
General surgeon


Stuart Kennedy was a former consultant general surgeon at East Birmingham and Solihull Hospitals. He was born in Wednesbury, West Midlands, on 25 February 1936. His father, Robert Charles Kennedy, was an electrical engineer and his mother, Dorothey Elizabeth née Cowley, was a teacher. He was educated at King Edward VI School at Stourbridge, Worcestershire, and was admitted to the medical school of the University of Birmingham in 1954. He received all his surgical training in the West Midlands, where the rotational training scheme was very popular, and always said that he was much influenced by A L d'Abreu, Sir Geoffrey Slaney and V S Brookes, all well known surgeons on the Birmingham United Hospitals staff at that time. In 1971 he was appointed consultant surgeon to the East Birmingham (later Heartlands) and Solihull Hospitals.

Kennedy was a very active and competent surgeon who was most interested in surgical education. He played a large part in the expansion and development of the East Birmingham Hospital into a major teaching unit and was a member of the group under the leadership of Peter Bevan that set up the West Midlands training course for the final FRCS. He was a warm-hearted and kindly man with a deep sense of compassion, particularly for patients who had a terminal illness. Because of his personal qualities he was a popular and accomplished teacher.

He married on no less than three occasions, the first two marriages ending in divorce. In 1983 he married his third wife, Razia, who gave him much happiness. He had five children, three adopted children from his second marriage (Nicholas, Sarah and Richard - who died as a baby) and two sons from his third (Idris David and Adam Firoz). His main hobbies were painting and gardening, and he was widely read in history, philosophy and religion, on which topics he held very firm views.

In 1988 he was found to have acquired hepatitis B, almost certainly as a consequence of his surgical work, and abruptly had to resign and abandon his surgical career. This was a devastating blow, and he wrote about the resulting psychological trauma in the British Medical Journal.

For four years after his retirement he was appointed medical audit adviser to the then regional health authority and became leader of this initiative in the West Midlands, but the project was under-resourced and he received little support from his employers, which caused him much disappointment and sadness, especially when the job disappeared in one of the many reorganisations then taking place.

He developed a protracted and debilitating illness as progressive liver failure became established, during which time he was sustained by his passion for painting and a supportive family. He died after a liver transplantation on 30 June 1999.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1999 319 857, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England