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Paul Savage

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 31 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1223
  1. Anne Savage

Paul Savage qualified from the London Hospital and, after a short but valuable time in general practice, joined the army. He served in the North African campaign, where he was wounded in the knee, an injury that was contaminated with diphtheria, not uncommon at the time. Fortunately there was no associated toxin. This was his second escape from death; as a student he developed septicaemia from a pricked finger and granulocytopenia from the sulphonamide used to treat it. North Africa was followed by a spell caring for casualties as the war spread to Italy, and when hostilities were over he was put in charge of a small hospital in the Netherlands where he made many friends.

These experiences made him determined to become a surgeon, and as soon as he was discharged from the army he returned to the London Hospital as first assistant to the surgical unit. When his time at the London was up he did several locums before being appointed to the Whittington Hospital in 1951, where he was to be a consultant for 30 years. He was given the task of starting a new unit, two 30 bedded wards were provided but, for a few weeks, no houseman or registrar. It was hard work, but work never worried him, and in due course the unit built up, aided by his two faithful ward sisters, who stayed for the whole of his time. He was a careful operator, having no use for the “get it done in 20 minutes” practitioners and kind to his patients, especially children.

In due course the Whittington became a teaching hospital and numerous trainees passed through Paul’s hands. He was an excellent teacher on a one to one basis, and as he was a true general surgeon, avoiding only orthopaedics and neurosurgery, his trainees got unrivalled experience and could later be found in senior positions in all parts of the country. His interest in colorectal surgery resulted in him being elected president of the proctology section of the Royal Society of Medicine, an institution to which he was devoted.

His interests outside surgery were sailing, skiing, skating (he was an accomplished dancer on skates), and his family. Paul leaves Anne, his wife of 63 years; three sons—one also a colorectal surgeon; six granddaughters; and a great grandson.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1223


  • Consultant surgeon Whittington Hospital, Highgate, London (b 1916; q 1939; FRCS ), died from carcinoma of the pancreas on 17 November 2013.

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