Lives of the fellows

Stuart Hishon

b.13 October 1945 d.14 February 2005
BSc Lond(1967) MB BS(1970) MRCS LRCP(1970) MRCP(1973) FRCP(1992)

Stuart Hishon was an important influence on the early days of the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. He was appointed in 1981 as the first consultant gastro-enterologist to the newly-commissioned hospital, where he founded and developed a thriving department of gastro-enterology.

He trained at the Westminster Hospital, London. After house jobs in London, Stuart joined the medical registrar rotation at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, and then went on to the Central Middlesex Hospital, London. After this, he was appointed to the Norwich-Addenbrooke's senior registrar rotation in gastro-enterology. This gave him the broad clinical experience, which enabled him to make such a success of his consultant life in East Anglia. He had developed a special interest in inflammatory bowel disease and was a talented general physician much respected for his clinical judgement and frequently asked to provide a second opinion. He started work at the hospital on the same day as his wife, Jenny Jenkins, a consultant anaesthetist.

Prior to Stuart’s arrival, all gastroscopies and colonoscopies were performed by surgeons. On the move to the new hospital, he oversaw the planning and opening of the endoscopy suite. He introduced to the hospital both the monitoring of patients during endoscopy, and endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography (ERCP). He told a story about his first endoscopy list. He had borrowed instructions on fasting from a surgical colleague and had these handed out to the listed patients. These instructions said, "Do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight on Sunday." Unfortunately, Stuart's list was on a Thursday. The first patient staggered in, apologising that he had had a cup of tea on Tuesday!

He set up the region's gut club – which has continued to flourish and, twice a year, is the main regional meeting for gastro-enterologists. At the first meeting, in Norwich, Stuart attracted Sir Francis Avery Jones as the guest speaker.

He loved the hospital and his life in East Anglia with his wife and son. He was a sparkling and witty companion, with interests in music, philosophy and military history, and was an enthusiastic if erratic skier. He was invited to give the first talk to open the new lecture theatre in the new hospital, which was at that time called the Gorleston District General Hospital. He accepted the brief with enthusiasm and delivered an original lecture on ‘Gorlestones’ that was both instructive and funny.

Underlying Stuart’s stalwart good humour and jolly happiness was a lifelong anxiety and sense of worthlessness which he struggled to hide. Features of a depressive illness appeared during his time as a senior registrar, but he felt unable to seek help. The illness recurred at times during his consultant tenure; however, by now he was receiving professional support, and he was greatly helped by the sympathy and kindness shown to him by his colleagues. Unfortunately his condition worsened, and progressively blighted his life. He decided to retire in 1994, at the age of 49, in the hope that his health would improve. Sadly, it did not, and he spent his last years in and out of hospital in declining health. He is survived by his wife Jenny, whom he married in 1970, and his son, Rory, who is a lawyer.

David Wayne

[Brit.med.J.,2005 330 1213]

(Volume XII, page web)

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