Sir Terence English KBE, FRCS, FRCP

Sir Terence English is a retired cardiac surgeon He now lives in Oxford but spent his professional life in Cambridge, where he was consultant cardiothoracic surgeon to Papworth and Addenbrooke’s Hospitals from 1972 to 1995.

He was born in South Africa in 1932. After school in Natal he spent a year as a diamond-driller in what was then known as Rhodesia. He then studied Mining Engineering at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, qualifying BSc in 1954. Having inherited a small legacy he decided he would be a better doctor than an engineer, and was accepted to read medicine at Guy’s Hospital in London.

Before starting medical school, he worked for 8 months in mining exploration in Canada and thereafter returned each summer for the next three years to augment his capital. He qualified from London University in 1962 and then embarked on training, first in general surgery and then in cardiothoracic surgery.

After being appointed to Papworth and Addenbrooke’s hospitals his main surgical interest became heart transplantation and he performed Britain’s first successful heart transplant in 1979. There had been three previous attempts in 1968 by Donald Ross but these were not successful and thereafter a moratorium had been placed on further attempts in the United Kingdom.

In 1980 Sir Terence was appointed Director of the British Heart Foundation Research Group at Papworth, and under his leadership the hospital achieved an international reputation for heart, and later, heart-lung and lung, transplantation. For this and other contributions to surgery he was made Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1991.

Sir Terence was elected President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England from 1989 t0 1992, and President of the British Medical Association in 1995-1996. He became Master of St Catharine’s College in Cambridge (1993 – 2000) and was Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire from 1994 to 2001.

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