How to encapsulate in a short blog relevant information covering the last 55 years of one’s life! As some of you know, I quit Guy’s soon after starting 2nd MB, returning to my previous work with mining exploration in Canada. However, the generosity of George Houston, then Dean, permitted me to return a year later, when I joined all of you. Once 2nd MB had been negotiated I loved the last three clinical years, during which I had the great pleasure of captaining the Rugby XV when we won the Inter-Hospitals Cup in 1961. (Some of my experiences at Guy’s during this time are described in Chapter 3 of my autobiography “Follow Your Star”, which is available from Amazon).
Having been Charles Baker’s HP I intended to follow a career in cardiology. When I discussed this with him he suggested I might become a better cardiologist “if I first spent 6 months seeing what the surgeons were up to”. However, after a few weeks with Sir Russell Brock and Donald Ross I knew I was never going back to cardiology! I received a good training on the Brompton/London Chest /National Heart Hospital rotation and then by good fortune was encouraged by my then boss to accept a locum consultant post at Papworth Hospital. Once there I came to admire my senior colleague and liked the idea of bringing up our family in Cambridge. So I applied for the substantive post when it was advertised and never regretted the decision of not returning to London.
Looking back on my professional career I believe I caught the NHS at its best. Starting the heart transplant programme posed lots of difficulties but eventually we were successful and many good things followed, including the Presidency of The Royal College of Surgeons. Then there was the final unexpected pleasure of being elected to the Mastership of St Catharine’s College Cambridge from 1993 to 2000, which brought a whole new dimension of interest. Since retirement my main interests have been delivering courses in Primary Trauma Care to developing countries such as Pakistan and Gaza, and more recently I have become engaged with the movement to legalise Physician Assisted Dying. I have also had the pleasure of seeing 3 of my 4 children marry very nice people and then provide me with 8 grandchildren all under the age of eight! I do indeed feel a very fortunate man. Terence English