Pioneering heart and lung surgeon Christopher Parish passes away, aged 97.

13:51 06 June 2014

Christopher Parish.

Christopher Parish.

Archant

Christopher Parish, who has died at the age of 97, led pioneering work on heart-lung surgery as the first cardiothoracic surgeon at Papworth Hospital.

Mr Parish was appointed initially as thoracic surgeon at Papworth Hospital in 1952, though he went on to work in and develop cardiothoracic surgery.

At that time, tuberculosis had been brought under control so Papworth Hospital’s work as a tuberculosis sanatorium was fading whilst the number of cardiac cases on the waiting list was increasing.

On arrival at the hospital, he found that its surgical facilities were very limited and unsuited to the requirements for the hospital’s changing role so he set out a pioneering vision to establish a specialist cardiothoracic surgery unit at Papworth.

Mr Parish was able to convince the Regional Health Authority that cardiac surgery required dedicated radiographers and clinicians and subsequently recruited the late Ben Milstein who developed open heart surgery at the hospital.

This attracted fellow cardiothoracic surgeons to join the team and paved the way for many milestones in Papworth Hospital’s remarkable history including the UK’s first successful heart transplant and the World’s first heart- lung and liver transplant.

Prior to his time at Papworth Hospital, during the Second World War, Mr Parish served in the Army, working at field hospitals for the 8th Army in the North African Desert and then moved on to the landings at Salerno and Anzio in Italy where he performed life-saving surgery.

On one occasion, he was presented with a patient suffering from a chest wound and surgery on his heart was essential if his life was to be saved.

At the time, the concept of heart surgery was highly controversial amongst his clinical colleagues but the operation was essential to save the man’s life.

With no relatives or next-of-kin to consult with, he decided to perform the operation.

The patient survived and it was this decisive wartime experience which proved to him that heart surgery could be done and led him into cardiothoracic surgery at Papworth Hospital.

Today Papworth Hospital is the UK’s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 16:03
Lorry overturns on A142 near Mepal after driver suffers medical emergency

A 32 tonne lorry overturned on the A142 near Mepal this morning when the driver suffered a medical emergency.

Yesterday, 10:22
Padnal Bank. Road blocked due to RTC.

A man says he is “fearful” for his life and has lost count of the amount of crashes between Padnal Road and Branch Bank outside his Littleport home – especially after seeing another collision last night.

Yesterday, 09:36
Both cars were written off following this A10 crash near Stretham

Motorists are being urged to tell the county council about overgrown vegetation after an accident on the A10 in which a businessman who suffered severe whiplash said he could not see an oncoming car due to six feet high grass.

Yesterday, 17:13
Who will succeed this man? MPs starting to declare who they will support to be the next PM: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

As a picture of who is supporting who in the leadership contest emerges over the coming days, we will bring you the latest here.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up