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Obituary: Matthew John Carty

Matt Carty died suddenly at home aged 66 on 15th December 2008.

Matthew John Carty was born on the 8th March 1942. The son of a local headmaster, he was raised in Hamilton and Cambuslang. He was educated at St Aloysius College, Glasgow (1950-1960) and Glasgow University, graduating MBChB in 1966. His residency posts were in Glasgow Royal Infirmary. His initial experience in obstetrics and gynaecology was at Rottenrow and in The Queen Mother’s Hospital where he was greatly influenced by academics such as Ian Donald, and clinicians Ian McBride, Wallace Barr, James Willocks and John McVicar.

Matt’s love of Africa and the needs of the developing world began when he was sent as part of his training to Nairobi in April 1971, where he remained before returning to Glasgow to take up the post of lecturer/SR at the Queen Mother’s and the Western Infirmary in 1973. Matt was appointed to his consultant post at the Southern General Hospital in 1977 where he remained until his retiral in 2005.

Matt recounted to me the story of his first consultant interview. He plucked up the courage to approach Ian Donald about the forthcoming interview for the post at the Queen Mother’s Hospital. His main competitors were his close friends, Rob Chatfield and Alistair Miller. Professor Donald asked, 'Matt would you be so kind as to give me a lift to the health board office as I'm on the panel to appoint Rob and Alistair' and a despondent Matt kindly agreed.
At the Southern General Hospital, Matt's major contribution was in the area of Medical Education. An enthusiast for betterment and improvement, he taught, coached and examined doctors at home and abroad, taking a lifetime interest in the education of doctors and medical students. He established the MRCOG course at the Southern; one of the first in the UK, which has now been running for over 30 years. He chaired the West of Scotland Postgraduate Committee from 1990-1993.

His involvement with the RCOG began when he served on the Scottish Committee from 1987 to 1993 and on the Hospital Recognition Committee from 1994 to 1997.

As a senior consultant Matt was elected to serve as the Scottish Fellows representative on RCOG Council in 1997. He was re-elected in 2000 and following careful consideration, successfully stood for the position of Senior Vice President of the RCOG in the 2001 election. He served a three-year term as senior vice-president and proved popular and productive. He was responsible for education, training and international affairs, which, nowadays is the job of two College officers. He examined in the Middle East, the African continent, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Libya.

Kenya had made a lasting impression on Matt and he used the responsibilities of his post to initiate projects in the developing world, in particular, a course on life-saving skills in maternity care aimed at nurses, clinicians and medical attendants. In Kenya, he pursued a major audit of obstetric care in conjunction with the Royal College of Midwives to raise standards in neonatal care. He was the mentor for the Kenya Safe Motherhood Project and secured funding for UK trainees to travel overseas to gain the practical experience in Obstetrics and Gynaecology which would not have been available in the UK. He chaired the RCOG International Chairs meeting and instigated the setting up of the RCOG International Office.

Throughout his career, Matt remained an honest, approachable obstetrician and gynaecologist. His professional opinion was highly regarded locally, nationally and internationally. He was a contented and accomplished man, convivial and generous. Even at the pinnacle of his career, he was never too busy to give a few minutes of his time.

He was devoted to his wife Caroline whom he graduated with in 1966 and married in 1969. They both took enormous and understandable pride in their talented children - Gillian, a lawyer; Stephen and David, both doctors; and Helen, a veterinary surgeon - and their four grandchildren.