Lives of the fellows

Debabrata Gooptu

b.1 April 1931 d.June 2009
MB BS Calcutta(1954) MRCP Edin(1959) MRCP(1960) DPhil Oxon(1965) FRCP(1977) FRCP Edin(1977)

Debabrata Gooptu was a consultant physician in general medicine and gastroenterology on Tyneside. Born in Calcutta, India, his father was Rajendra Chandra Gooptu, a businessman. One of his ancestors was Dwarkanath Gooptu, one of the first four doctors to qualify from medical college in India, doing so in 1839. In 1836 Hindus were extremely fearful of human dissection and these four were the first to break that taboo. Dwarkanath Gooptu later founded a pharmaceutical industry in Calcutta and his patent anti-malarial medicine was famous throughout rural Bengal.

After attending the Scottish Church Collegiate School in Calcutta, he studied medicine at Calcutta University and Medical College Hospital. Qualifying in 1954, he did house jobs in Calcutta from 1955 to 1957, and then travelled to the UK where he became a house officer in 1959, then a registrar the following year, at the Hammersmith Hospital and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. He developed an interest in gastroenterology, which was then a relatively new specialty, and moved to Oxford with a Wellcome Foundation fellowship to do research at the Nuffield Department of the Radcliffe Infirmary.

He spent a year as a senior registrar at the Osler Hospital in Oxford (now part of the John Radcliffe) from 1965 and then a year in New York as senior instructor in medicine at the University of Rochester. On his return to the UK, he went to Birmingham as a senior registrar in general medicine at the Coventry and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals from 1969 to 1971. Following that, he was appointed a consultant physician in general medicine and gastroenterology at the South Tyneside Hospital. Here he founded one of the first regional gastroenterology units in the UK and built up their postgraduate teaching programmes and facilities to a very high standard.

A member of the Caledonian Gut Club, the British Society for Gastroenterology, and the British Society for Rheumatology, he published several scientific papers on gastroenterological problems and his DPhil thesis was titled Absorption of human colon (1965).

Cricket and photography were among his interests, and he was enthusiastic about both Western and Bengali culture, including literature, music and theatre.

In 1966, he married Rose Mary Anne née Read, known as ‘Anne’, whose father was Frank Charles Read, a GP. Sadly his mobility gradually deteriorated after retirement but he was still able to enjoy his various interests. Anne survived him, together with his daughter Chandralekha and son Bibekbrata (both medically qualified), son-in-law Simon, daughter-in-law Nancy, and grandson, Oscar.

RCP editor

[Calcutta Medical College proceedings of 32nd scientific meeting http://mcesauk.webplus.net/Brochure2009.pdf - accessed 26 February 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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