Victor Stanley BrookesBMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2996 (Published 27 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2996
- Richard Viney
Victor Stanley Brookes was born in Dudley in late November 1920. Victor and his younger brother were orphaned at a young age and were raised by a local apothecary, giving him his first taste of medicine. He attended Dudley Grammar School from 1932 to 1938, where he won the prestigious Ironmasters prize, as well as prizes in physics, chemistry, biology, and English. He won the Dudley Guest Hospital Scholarship to study medicine at Birmingham University Medical School. While attaining his MB ChB with first class honours in 1943 he secured the Queen’s scholarship twice, the Ingleby scholarship, the Butterworth prize, and the Priestly Smith prize.
He was a house surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Birmingham, before being appointed registered surgical officer (RSO) at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH). He served in France with the Royal Army Medical Corps with the rank of captain. On returning to civilian practice he undertook his higher surgical training at the BCH and on the professorial unit at the QEH, obtaining his FRCS in 1949. After a traveling fellowship to the United States he was appointed general surgical consultant at the QEH as well as paediatric thoracic surgeon at the BCH during 1955-6. He resigned the latter post in 1974 to focus on his upper gastrointestinal practice at the QEH. He published widely on thoracic and upper gastrointestinal conditions. In 1974 he was appointed consultant surgeon to the West Midlands Police force.
He was involved with many societies, including the West Midlands Surgical Society (president, 1969), the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, and the British Gastroenterological Society. It was his membership of the travelling Moynihan Chirurgical Club of which he was most proud, only missing one meeting through ill health in 40 years. He was a committed mason, reaching high office.
He was passionate about surgical training in the West Midlands, working on the Faculty Executive Committee of Birmingham Medical School and the Midlands Area Training Sub-committee for senior surgical registrars, as well as being chairman of the registrars training committee. He was a regional surgical tutor for the Royal College of Surgeons, subsequently being appointed the West Midlands regional adviser.
He was married to Rita, and together they had two children, Rosemary and David. He lost Rita to cancer at the age of 55 years after 25 years of marriage. He subsequently remarried Moira, with whom he enjoyed a second silver wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, he lost his daughter, Rosemary, to cancer in 1997 aged 51, and he lost a grandson, James, in 2006 aged 29 years. Along with Moira he leaves behind his son, David; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
He was a great man with great hands (size 9 gloves). His wit and straight talking manner will be greatly missed.
Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2996
Former consultant surgeon Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham (b 21 November 1920; q Birmingham 1943; FRCS), d 16 September 2008.
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