Lives of the fellows

Katherine Paule Cotter

b.28 June 1943 d.9 October 2017
MB BCh BAO University College Cork(1966) MRCPath(1973) MD NUI(1974) FRCP(1984)

Katherine Paule Cotter was a consultant haematologist at Cork University Hospital and a senior lecturer at University College, Cork. She was born Bantry, Cork, the daughter of Jerome Cotter, a bakery owner, and Margaret Cotter (née O’Mahony). She was educated at Mercy Convent, Bantry and Drishane Convent, Millstreet and at University College, Cork. She qualified in 1966.

House officer appointments followed at St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork and at Warwick Hospital. In 1967 she was appointed as a senior house officer and later as a registrar in general medicine at the General Hospital, Birmingham. Rotating senior registrar posts at Queen Elizabeth and Children’s hospitals, Birmingham, the West Regional Blood Transfusion Centre and the Coventry Hospitals Group followed. In 1974 she was awarded an MD by University College, Cork for a thesis on ‘Some compensatory mechanisms in hypoxia’. In 1975 she was appointed as a consultant haematologist at Coventry. In this post she developed treatment of acute and chronic leukaemia with cytotoxic drugs.

In 1979 she moved back to Ireland, being appointed as a consultant haematologist at Cork University Hospital and as a senior lecturer at University College, Cork. Here she was mainly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant haematology disorders, blood coagulation with anticoagulant therapy and blood transfusion. At Cork she developed bone marrow transplantation of autologous stem cells as well as being responsible for the management of a busy department.

She enjoyed teaching and was well respected by her students. She was held in the highest esteem by the wider medical and nursing community as well as by her colleagues. She was the first woman dean of the Faculty of Pathology in Ireland. Professionalism and expertise were accompanied by humanity and kindness to patients; her poise and elegance was offset beautifully by her wisdom and wit. At a memorial service arranged in her honour the chapel was packed by those who wanted to pay tribute to this remarkable woman.

She was a member of British Society for Haematology, the International Society of Haematology and a member of the board of West Cork Music Festival held each summer in Bantry. She was married to Patrick James McGrath, a lecturer in philosophy, University of Cork, Ireland, who predeceased her in 2011.

Keith Shinton

(Volume XII, page web)

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