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Biographical entry Yeoman, Philip Metcalfe (1923 - 1997)

MRCS and FRCS 1957; MB BCh Cambridge 1947; MA 1950; MD 1963.

29 April 1923
29 November 1997
Orthopaedic surgeon


As a haven for severely disabled rheumatic patients, Bath presents a formidable challenge to the orthopaedic surgeon and it was there that Philip Metcalfe Yeoman excelled in the correction and mobilisation of fixed deformities. He was born into a family of Yorkshire doctors. His grandfather, William Metcalfe Yeoman, was a GP in Stokesley, and his father, also William, was a physician and rheumatologist in Harrogate. His mother was Dorothy née Young. He was born on 29 April 1923 and educated at Sedbergh, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and then UCH for his clinical years. As a student he was part of the team which first entered the concentration camp at Belsen, a sight which made a profound impression upon him. It was at UCH too that he met his wife, Idonea Scarrott, whom he married immediately after qualification in 1947.

House jobs were followed by a spell in the anatomy department at Cambridge and by National Service at RAF Ely. After gaining his FRCS in 1957, he took a series of junior posts at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London, with Sir Herbert Seddon, making an important study of brachial plexus injuries, which gained him the Cambridge MD and the Robert Jones medal of the British Orthopaedic Association.

In 1964, he was appointed consultant to the Bath Orthopaedic Hospital and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. There he established an efficient service that was renowned for the surgical rehabilitation of severely handicapped patients, particularly those with ankylosing spondylitis. But his patients were grateful to him for more than his surgical skill - he concerned himself with all their problems.

He took a full part in the business of the British Orthopaedic Association, becoming Vice-President. He was President of the section of orthopaedics at the Royal Society of Medicine in 1983. He also served the cause of orthopaedics as both an examiner and a member of Council at the College.

He retired to a delightful house in Monckton Combe, where he enjoyed gardening and golf, as well as watching the careers of his son and two daughters. He died of prostatic carcinoma on 29 November 1997.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 19 December 1997, with portrait; BMJ 1998 316 1679].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England