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Kenneth ED Shuttleworth


1922 - 2006

Summarised from Plarr's "Lives of the Fellows Online"

Ken Shuttleworth was born in Bradford on 30 April 1922 to Frederick and Edith Shuttleworth. He was educated at Watford Grammar School. Despite some early experience in hospital, where he had fainted at the sight of blood every day for a fortnight, he entered St Thomas' Hospital to study medicine in 1939.

He qualified in 1944 and immediately joined the RAMC, serving in Italy, Egypt and Palestine, an experience which included taking out the appendix of the son of a sheikh, who rewarded him with a feast including the traditional sheep's eyes.

On his return he was appointed to the staff of St Thomas' and awarded a Hunterian Professorship in the College in 1962. From the days of Cheselden, the urological tradition at St Thomas' had been upheld by R H O B Robinson and Walter "Gaffer" Mimpriss, who had learned the technique of transurethral cold punch resection from Gershom Thompson at the Mayo Clinic.  Ken replaced Mimpriss as a general surgeon, but realised the need to set up a specialist department of urology, separate from that of general surgery. Such specialisation in London was at that time exceptional, and he faced opposition from some colleagues who were keen for the overlap between urology and general surgery to continue.

He was president of the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) from 1982 to 1984, at a time when many in the surgical subspecialties were urging the surgical Royal Colleges to set up a higher surgical qualification to demonstrate that a trainee had been fully trained in his or her specialty. BAUS were persuaded to support this concept, but not without some difficulty and only on condition that it would be set up jointly by all four surgical Royal Colleges.

The introduction, by Dornier, of extracorporeal shock wave destruction of stones came at a time when the NHS budget was under unusual strain so the Department of Health asked for bids from different London hospitals. The competition was intense, but he put forward a scheme which won the prize and, for the next decade, large numbers of renal calculi were referred to St Thomas' for the new treatment. 

In retirement he moved permanently to his Tuscan farmhouse, where he was happy growing his own vegetables, harvesting his hay field, picking his own grapes making wine, and entertaining friends who visited him from England after the death of his partner Pamela.  A hip replacement in London did not slow him up and it was only when he suffered progressive amnesia that his family brought him back to England to a nursing home. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, from which he eventually died on 8 March 2006.

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