Lives of the fellows

Carlton Oldfield

b.15 July 1870 d.27 May 1945
MB BS Lond(1895) MD Lond(1905) MRCS LRCP(1893) FRCS(1920) FRCP(1928)

Carlton Oldfield, who spent most of his professional life in the Leeds district, was born in Almondbury, to Joshua Oldfield and his wife, Emma, née Davison. As an undergraduate at Leeds University he won the McGill prize in clinical surgery and the Hardwick prize in clinical medicine. At the Leeds General Infirmary he held several house posts and had the advantage of the influence of Mayo Robson. Only after several years in general practice did he decide to specialise in gynaecology, where new ground in the abdominal surgery of the uterus was being broken; work for his F.R.C.S, went late into the night. In 1919 he was appointed to the chair of obstetrics and gynaecology; he had already been appointed honorary obstetric surgeon to the General Infirmary in 1918 and surgeon to the Women’s and Children’s, and Leeds Maternity Hospitals, and done post-graduate study in Vienna, Berlin and Bonn.

He was now to become, in addition, visiting consultant to the St. James’s, Seacroft, Clayton, Batley District, Skipton and District, and Coronation Hospitals around Leeds, and to the Dewsbury General Infirmary. Oldfield was a great teacher and a fine operator, greatly in demand by medical societies all over the country. An enthusiast for advances, he made radium one of his chief interests from the time of its introduction, and was one of the first in England to appreciate the psychological element in the pernicious vomiting in pregnancy. He was therefore the ideal man to revise the last two editions of Herman’s Difficult labour (1920, 1929). Somehow he found time for his hobbies of farming, hunting and golf, and for the presidencies of the North of England Obstetrical and Gynaecological, and the Leeds and West Riding Medico-Chirurgical Societies.

In 1903 he married Emma Gertrude, daughter of Benjamin Whitaker, of Highfield, Horsforth. They had two daughters and two sons, the elder of whom, Michael, an F.R.C.S., was appointed to the staff of the Leeds General Infirmary.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1945,1, 825; J. Obstet. Gynaec. Brit. Emp., 1945, 52, 392-3 (p); Lancet, 1945, 2, 62; Lives R.C.S., 596.]

(Volume V, page 311)

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