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Obituary: Thomas Benedict Fitzgerald


Tom Fitzgerald graduated from Birmingham University in 1939. He then moved to Manchester to undertake postgraduate training. He qualified FRCS in Edinburgh in 1942.

Like many of his generation, his training was interrupted by the war. Tom served on warships in the Royal Navy and was awarded the DSC.

Returning to Manchester, he completed his training and passed the MRCOG examination in 1947. His first Consultant post was in Ashton under Lyne, but in 1959, he succeeded J. Willie Hunter at St Mary’s. The following year he was elected to the Fellowship. He was considered by his colleagues to be rather academic and had only a small private practice. He was more interested in Obstetrics than Gynaecology and had papers on Obstetric topics published.

He was the lead clinician in the design of the new St Mary’s Hospital, uniting Obstetrics and Gynaecology on the same site for the first time. He chose the colour scheme for the interior of the hospital, a uniform battleship grey. Cynics suggested that this reflected his naval service, but he insisted that the colour was chosen so as not to show the dirt. One innovation he introduced to St Mary’s was the system of the youngest consultant looking after the delivery unit all day, every weekday, with only two afternoon gynaecology sessions per week. At the next retirement, that consultant moved to a conventional post and the new boy took on the delivery unit work. This system prevailed for almost 20 years.

From 1969 he served on the Hospital Recognition and Postgraduate committees and in 1970 was elected to Council as Fellow’s representative for England. During his term on Council he also served on F & E and on the Fellowship selection committee. He was an MRCOG examiner, continuing after retirement.

Tom had a large family to whom he was devoted. Incidentally, his son married Patrick Steptoe’s daughter. He was a gentleman and a gentle man, highly regarded by his colleagues. He was a delightful companion and colleague.

He retired in 1974 and moved to Louth, Lincolnshire to be near his son who farmed there.