Intended for healthcare professionals


George Weir Johnston

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 30 July 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1894
  1. Brian Johnston,
  2. Peter Crookes

With a twinkle in his eye, George Weir Johnston liked to describe himself as a gunrunner who imported guns from Russia to Belfast at the height of the Troubles. The gun he personally went to Russia to collect was an SPTU stapling gun, the forerunner to the modern EEA stapling gun widely used for anastomosis in colorectal and oesophageal surgery. He pioneered its use for the stapled transection of the oesophagus, a significant advancement in the management of bleeding oesophageal varices.

George was the youngest of five sons born into a farming family. From a young age, he was determined to pursue a career in medicine rather than …

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