Lives of the fellows

Peter Brett Guyer

b.8 January 1934 d.22 September 2000
MB BS Lond(1956) DMRD(1963) MRCP(1963) FFR(1965) FRCR(1975) DM Southampton(1977) FRCP(1978) MS Southampton(1986)

Peter Guyer was a consultant radiologist in Southampton for 34 years. The son of a consultant radiologist (Ronald Guyer), Peter was born in Preston and educated at Stoneyhurst College. He was a medical student at the Middlesex Hospital, where he was very fortunate to meet his wife Gill who was then a nurse. He then went on to junior medical appointments in London and Ipswich.

In 1962 he began his radiology training at St Bartholomew's Hospital where he was much influenced by George du Boulay, and he later moved to St Thomas's Hospital as senior registrar. In 1966 he was appointed to his consultant post in Southampton.

From these early days he became very interested in medical education, and in 1971 became the first clinical sub-dean of the new medical school in Southampton under Donald Acheson. He was responsible for implementing the innovative clinical curriculum, and this involved travelling all over the Wessex region, planning clinical attachments and discussing the programme with the clinical teachers. The success of the early years of the medical school owed a great deal to his meticulous planning and attention to detail.

These were also times of great development of the Southampton hospitals, and Peter showed his flair for design, leading the planning of the new radiology department at Southampton General Hospital which opened in 1978, and then proceeding to lead the project team for the new extension to the Royal South Hants Hospital which included a new radiology department. This was the hospital for which he felt particular fondness, and where he built up such a strong service with clinical colleagues who became his lifelong friends. He introduced angiography to the hospital, and later the breast imaging service for which he will be particularly remembered by so many.

During the early 1970s he began, with David Barker of the MRC unit, an enormous study on the incidence and epidemiology of Paget's disease, which involved long hours and travelling throughout Europe. This research led eventually to the award of his DM in 1978. By this time he was also developing expertise in ultrasound, and in 1982 introduced sonomammography alongside x-ray breast imaging. This pioneering work led to the award of master of surgery in 1986 and the Ellis Barnet prize in 1988.

When the national breast screening programme began he was responsible for setting up the Southampton and Salisbury service and was its director for many years. Later in his career his expertise on breast imaging was often sought by other departments.

Despite his special interests, he retained a large general radiology commitment, and was also a Royal College examiner.

His enthusiasm and energy for everything he did was legendary. A deeply caring man, he also showed a real concern for all his staff and their families, and would often be involved in helping with their personal problems.

One might think that he had little time for anything outside his work, and indeed he often said that radiology was his hobby, but in fact he had an equally busy and rewarding life beyond the hospital gates. His greatest joy was in Gill and his family, and he took enormous pride in their seven children and 19 grandchildren. An enthusiastic photographer, he was never without pictures of the latest member of the clan. He had a great love of music, particularly opera, and for 24 years sang with the Southampton Choral Society.

When he reached retirement age his friends hoped that he might take things easier, but Peter would have none of it, and proceeded to take up a number of locum positions. He was so fascinated by the job that he just could not let go. Those of us who are left behind remember him with deep affection and great sadness that he was taken from us so soon.

Bruce Ogilvie

(Volume XI, page 235)

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