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Observations BMJ Confidential

Suzy Lishman: Grateful to the air bubble

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 01 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3458


Suzy Lishman, 47, consultant in cellular pathology at Peterborough City Hospital, has been the president of the Royal College of Pathologists since November 2014. She has her hands full overseeing the college’s move from London’s swanky SW1 to the grittier environs of Whitechapel—once Jack the Ripper territory but now manifestly on the up. She is vocal in promoting the cause of women in science, extolling pathology (under the Twitter name @ilovepathology), and asking with increasing exasperation why, 15 years after Harold Shipman was sentenced, death certification has yet to be reformed by the creation of medical examiners.

What was your earliest ambition?

I always wanted to be a ballerina; in fact, I still do. I attended ballet classes for many years, but it was never more than a hobby. Luckily, I also wanted to be a doctor, having come from a medical family, and I turned out to be better at that than at ballet.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My aunt Gilly, now a retired respiratory physician, who showed me that women can have good careers in medicine. I followed Gilly to Girton College, Cambridge, and then the London Hospital Medical School. As a student I spent occasional holidays with her at work, watching my first bronchoscopies. I always wondered what happened to the biopsies she took; I never thought …

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