Ralph Kerr-Gilbert

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 20 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1382
  1. Peter Ward-Booth

Ralph Kerr-Gilbert was one the pioneers who established oral and maxillofacial surgery in district general hospitals. He worked for most of his consultant career as a singlehanded surgeon, who created and established a thriving unit, delivering the highest standard of care. An open and honest person, for whom patients, colleagues, trainees, and staff at all levels had huge respect and fondness, he was a team player whose work ethic seemed boundless, rarely taking holidays, managing trauma, and large volumes of elective surgery. A full week’s work was rounded off by a Saturday elective list and usually a Sunday trauma list.

Born in Grantown on Spey, but brought up on Vancouver Island, Canada, he undertook his final education years and dental degree in Edinburgh in 1942. He then joined the Royal Air Force and was based in Calcutta. He embarked on a hospital surgical career, taking his FDS Eng in 1951, but soon realised the need for a medical qualification, and graduated from Dublin in 1956. Further training posts in Cardiff and Manchester led to his consultant appointment in 1962 to Sunderland, also working in South Shields, Durham, and Shotley Bridge Hospitals. He established one of the best postgraduate training programmes, which he ran for 17 years before retiring in 1985. He was devoted to his family and he leaves his wife, Betty; his daughter, Katherine; and two grandchildren.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1382


  • Consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon Sunderland (b 1920; q Dublin 1956; LDS Ed, FDS Eng), d 29 January 2013.

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