Obituaries

Bryan Nicholas BrookeJohn CallanderLucy Margaret ElsomRalph Harding FarrowMonica Madeline Mary Meynell FisherLilian Frances JonesRobert Noel HallMichael James HunterSusan Nicholls (née Parish)Louis Jonah OpitRalph Schram

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7171.1529 (Published 28 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1529

Bryan Nicholas Brooke


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First professor of surgery St George's Hospital (b 1915; q Cambridge/St Bartholomew's 1939; MD, FRCS), d 18 September 1998. After service in the Royal Army Medical Corps he decided to follow a career in academic surgery and joined Professor Alan Stammers in the new professorial surgical unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. It was here that Brooke made his outstanding contribution to the management of ulcerative colitis. The Birmingham group and a few like minded colleagues were able to show that an ileostomy using the adherent device, combined with staged colectomy and subsequently proctocolectomy, produced outstandingly successful results. Brooke also devised a simple eversion ileostomy, later adopted world wide. His awareness of the problems encountered by his patients led him to found the Ileostomy Association in 1956 and he was the first president. He was an exuberant extrovert in whom an acute and almost irrepressible sense of humour was combined with high intelligence and ability and he openly challenged authority and any precept that he considered questionable or second rate. The younger surgeons revelled in the ambience that pervaded his unit and most were encouraged to take part in a research project. Brooke was hurt and disappointed when he was not chosen to succeed Stammers but in 1963 he was appointed the first professor of surgery at St George's Hospital. His senior colleagues, however, found the presence of an unconventional academic in their midst disquieting, while Brooke felt isolated and constrained. Despite the support of his juniors further national recognition was scanty and he never regained in London the standing he had held in Birmingham. But his international reputation flourished; he was in demand at international meetings and as a visiting professor. He was an external examiner and published several textbooks. He was a demanding editor and all …

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