Lives of the fellows

David Sutton

b.5 October 1917 d.18 December 2002
MB ChB Manch(1942) DMRD(1947) MD(1949) MRCP(1952) FFR(1953) FRCP(1964) FRCR(1975)

David Sutton was the director of radiology at St Mary’s Hospital, London. He was born David Suchanitsky in Manchester, into a poor Jewish immigrant family, who had fled from Russia in the early 1900s. His father, Abram, was a teacher. His mother, Miriam née Monash, was the daughter of a merchant. David went to Manchester Grammar School and then Manchester University. The family changed their name to ‘Sutton’ while David was at university. He qualified in 1942 and held a post as a house surgeon at Ancoats Hospital.

Between 1942 and 1947 he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, in Burma in the India Command. He was demobilised with the rank of major. While in the Army he developed an interest in radiology, becoming a specialist.

Once he had left the Army, he became an assistant radiologist at the Royal Free Hospital. From 1948 to 1950 he was an assistant radiologist at the National Hospital, Queen Square, with the intention of becoming a neuroradiologist. James Bull [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.62] had recently introduced the technique of percutaneous carotid angiography, and David Sutton became the second person in the UK to practise this technique. Whilst at Queen Square, he also wrote an MD thesis on the radiology of the aqueduct and the fourth ventricle.

He then moved to Middlesex Hospital, as a senior registrar. Here he developed the techniques of peripheral and placental angiography.

In 1950 he was appointed as a consultant radiologist to Maida Vale Hospital and the National Hospital. Three years later he became a consultant at St Mary’s Hosptial, Paddington, during a period of rapid advances in the surgical management of vascular disease. He became a highly skilled arteriographer.

In 1962 he published Arteriography (Edinburgh, London, E & S Livingstone). From 1959 to 1964 he editor of the Journal of the Faculty of Radiology, which became Clinical Radiology under his leadership. He was the co-editor and then a single-handed editor of The textbook of radiology (Edinburgh, E & S Livingstone Ltd, 1969). New editions appeared as the book became a key text for all aspiring radiologists.

At the time of his election to the fellowship of the RCP in 1964 he listed literature, theatre and squash rackets as his interests.

In 1959 he married Janet Elizabeth Gardner, the daughter of a director. They had two children. David Sutton developed Parkinson’s disease later in life, and died from a heart attack.

RCP editor

[The Times 28 March 2003; Brit.med.J., 2003 326 934; Clinical Radiology www.rcr.ac.uk/Obituaries.aspx?ViewObit=19&PageID=56 – accessed 18 June 2012]

(Volume XII, page web)

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