Intended for healthcare professionals


Philip E S Palmer

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 20 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f904
  1. Alison Leake

Born in London, the son and grandson of physicians, Philip E S Palmer moved with his family to Hayle, West Cornwall, at the age of 7. He went to boarding school in Penzance and won an exhibition to Kelly College, Tavistock, Devon, where he won 10 academic prizes, served as head boy of the school, and was an outstanding athlete.

In 1939 he began his medical studies at London University (Westminster Hospital) soon after the start of the second world war. He served as a stretcher bearer and ambulance driver for the London Ambulance Service during the air raids. He won the class prize in surgery in 1943 and after graduating became a house surgeon at the Westminster.

In June 1944, shortly before the Normandy invasion, Philip was sent to Portsmouth for two months as anaesthetist to one of the surgical units dealing with casualties from Normandy. This led to his first published article, as joint author of a report in the Westminster Hospital Gazette on the treatment of battle casualties from Normandy. He became the Westminster Hospital’s senior medical officer, later registrar, and first surgical assistant in the radiotherapy department, leading to his qualifications in radiation therapy from the London Royal Colleges and in medical radiology from the University of London. He surprised himself by passing his US National Boards in Medicine at his first attempt in 1976. In 2004 he was awarded an honorary MD by the University of Turgu Mures in Romania.

In 1946 Philip Palmer joined his father …

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