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Biographical entry Mitra, Byomkes (1931 - 2002)

MRCS and FRCS 1968; MB BS Calcutta 1955; DLO 1963; FRCS Edinburgh 1968.

1 June 1931
Suri, West Bengal
5 November 2002
ENT surgeon


Byomkes Mitra, known to all as 'Sona', was a former consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at Crawley and Redhill Hospitals. He was born on 1 June 1931 into a landowning family in Suri, West Bengal. His father, Barunish Mitra, was a general practitioner and eye specialist who carried out ophthalmic surgery in remote villages, often pro bono. Mitra qualified from Calcutta University in 1955 and practised in rural North Bengal for three years, operating and giving anaesthetics with the help of a paramedic whom he had trained. He married Sulekha Sinha, the daughter of a Bengal family connected with Britain since the days of Clive.

The couple came to England in 1960. Sona did junior posts under Maxwell Ellis in Staffordshire Royal Infirmary and the Royal Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, passed the DLO in 1963 and the Edinburgh and English Fellowships within a month of each other in 1968.

He was appointed consultant ENT surgeon at Crawley Hospital in 1970, just after the hospital was opened, and was instrumental in building up the growing ENT department. He developed head and neck oncology services at Crawley, and was particularly interested in treating deafness in children with glue ear. His greatest satisfaction was to restore hearing to children, thereby enabling them to make the most of their education.

He was a popular colleague with a legendary sense of fun, whose jokes enlivened his operating sessions. His hobbies were golf, bowls and gardening, and he was a talented painter. He died from a ruptured aortic aneurysm on 5 November 2002, shortly after beginning chemotherapy for small cell carcinoma. He is survived by his wife, and daughter Lara, a biochemist.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Lara Mitra; BMJ 2003 326 399, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England