Lives of the fellows

Peter Stephenson

b.28 May 1927 d.8 April 2012
MB BCh Wits(1952) MRCP(1960) FRCP(1974)

Peter Stephenson was a consultant physician in Gateshead. He was born in East London, South Africa, the son of George Stephenson, a compositor, and Florence Marion Stephenson née Sargent. Peter studied medicine at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, qualifying in 1952.

He lived life to the full as a student and junior doctor, and spent time working as a medical officer in the copper mines of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. He met his wife May (Matilda Adeline Marvell) whilst working at Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto. They married in Benoni and sailed to Britain in 1955 for their honeymoon and to pursue postgraduate qualifications, promising they would settle in a warm climate.

He held training posts at Roehampton, Dryburn Hospital in Durham and at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. In October 1963 he was appointed as a consultant physician in Gateshead.

Seen as an inspirational leader and teacher, he established a first class diabetes unit in Gateshead and supported the British Diabetic Association, empowering the local diabetic population to improve care and facilities. He was a member of Gateshead Health Authority for several years and a keen supporter of the Association of Physicians in the north east.

After retiring from the NHS in 1991, he continued to work in research with Sir George Alberti and for 15 years was the medical director for the Hexham and Newcastle Lourdes diocesan pilgrimage.

Despite his dedication to his patients and colleagues he was a very caring family man. Suffering first from Parkinson’s disease and then motor neurone disease, he remained patient and non-complaining to the end, consuming hours of sport every day and pitting his wits to find answers to the Pointless quiz show on TV every afternoon. His wife May, two sons, three daughters and seven grandchildren survived him.

John Stephenson

[Brit.med.J., 2012 345 4531]

(Volume XII, page web)

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