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Biographical entry Rose, Michael Barritt (1940 - 2016)

BA Cambridge 1962; BChir 1965; MB 1966; DObst 1968; FRCS 1970; MChir 1977; BA Swansea 2010.

4 September 1940
Baguio, Philippines
11 July 2016
Urological surgeon


Michael Rose was a highly-respected urologist who worked all his consultant life in Swansea, south Wales. He was born on 4 September 1940 whilst his parents were visiting the Philippines on holiday from south China. His mother, Dorothy Rose née Barritt, went into early labour following treatment with quinine for a bout of malaria. His father, John Richard Rose, was a surgeon who had studied at Queens' College, Cambridge and trained at St Thomas' Hospital, London. In 1932, he became a Methodist missionary doctor in south China, which is where Michael was brought up as a small boy. At the age of one Michael and his parents were incarcerated by the Japanese following their invasion of China. The family suffered much hardship, brutality, hunger and fear until the end of the Pacific war in 1945. Just a year later the family returned to China, where his father was rebuilding the Methodist hospital, only to experience evacuation again as Westerners were thrown out of the country by Communist rebels.

Michael started his formal schooling in 1948 at Kent College, Canterbury. From here he gained a place at Queens' College, Cambridge to read medicine. At university he enjoyed cross country running and squash, and throughout his life he had a keen interest in the natural world and natural history. His other interest was bell ringing and it was through this shared enthusiasm that he met his future wife Hilary (née Griffiths) when they were both ringing at Trumpington Parish Church. They were married in the summer of 1964.

After qualifying, Michael did house officer and senior house officer posts in Taunton, Canterbury, Bath and Bristol, before returning to St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey. From there he was appointed to the senior registrar rotation in urology at Leeds in 1975. He started his consultant career in Swansea in 1977. He was given the responsibility for developing the embryonic urology service and by the time he retired in 2000 there were three consultant urologists.

He had a particular interest in endoscopic surgery and stone disease having written his MChir thesis on the 'Urinary inhibition of renal stone formation'. He, with colleagues, introduced percutaneous stone surgery and extracorporeal lithotripsy to Swansea. He was clinical lead urologist and programme director in urology for a number of years.

He was first secretary and then chairman of the Welsh Urological Society. In 1994, his department was short-listed for Urology Team of the Year. In 1992, he invited the British Association of Urological Surgeons to hold their autumn meeting in Swansea. A year earlier, Michael took part in a six-month exchange with George McGirr, a consultant urologist from Whangarei in New Zealand. In his time as a consultant Michael published several papers in the British Journal of Urology and in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Outside medicine, Michael continued his enthusiasm for bell ringing and his love of the natural world, which complemented the interests of his wife Hilary, who has a PhD in botany. Together they had two sons; Richard is a teacher and Philip is a professional photographer. After his retirement, Michael fulfilled a long-held ambition by studying English literature at Swansea University, for which he was awarded a first-class degree in 2010.

Sadly, Michael was diagnosed with a progressive lung condition in the early 1990s. This caused his health and fitness to deteriorate relentlessly, leaving him severely debilitated and dependant on supplementary oxygen. He coped courageously with this illness, keeping himself as active as possible. He died on 11 July 2016 aged 75. He is remembered by all who worked with him as a kind and caring doctor, a talented surgeon with a compassionate personality; a true gentleman.

Keith Vaughton

Sources used to compile this entry: [Hilary Rose; Richard Rose; Malcolm Lucas; Martin White; Swansea & Brecon Diocesan Guild of Bellringers].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England