Terence English

Sir Terence English (2017).jpg
English in August 2017
Terence Alexander Hawthorne English

October 1932 (age 89)
Known for
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in GB and Ireland 2009
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation 2014
  • Ray C Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in Cardiovascular Disease from the Texas Heart Institute 2014.
Medical career
ProfessionCardiothoracic surgeon
FieldCardiothoracic surgery
InstitutionsPapworth Hospital, Cambridge
ResearchCardiac transplantation
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in GB and Ireland 2009
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation 2014
  • Ray C Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in Cardiovascular Disease from the Texas Heart Institute 2014.

Sir Terence Alexander Hawthorne English KBE FRCS FRCP (born October 1932)[1] is a South African-born British retired cardiac surgeon. He was Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Papworth Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, 1973–1995. After starting a career in mining engineering, English switched to medicine and went on to lead the team that performed Britain's first successful heart transplant in August 1979 at Papworth, and soon established it as one of Europe's leading heart–lung transplant programmes.[2]

Born into a family of mixed Irish, Afrikaans, Yorkshire and Scottish descendants, English's father died at age 49, years leaving his mother to bring up two children in South Africa. After completing a degree in Mining Engineering in Johannesburg, he was inspired by a maternal uncle, who was a surgeon, to study medicine, and with the financial aid of an unexpected legacy travelled to London. After completing his medical training at Guy's Hospital Medical School, he was stimulated by the pioneering open heart surgery taking place in the 1960s and he embarked on a career in cardiac surgery and then specialised in cardiac transplantation.[3][4]

English became President of the Royal College of Surgeons 1989–92, Master of St Catharine's College 1993–2000, Deputy Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire 1994–2001 and President of the British Medical Association 1995–1996. A member of the General Medical Council (GMC) (1983–1989), he has also been President of International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation 1984–1985 and holds multiple international honorary fellowships and Doctorates of medical colleges and universities.[5][6] He was knighted, KBE in 1991.[3][7][8]

Early life and education

Terence English was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, to Mavis and Arthur English.[5] He has an older sister called Elizabeth. Arthur English died from silicosis when Sir Terence was two years old.[5]


English went to Parktown Preparatory School for boys in Johannesburg[9] and at the age of ten was sent to board at Cordwallis school in Pietermaritzburg and in 1946 completed his schooling at Hilton College in Natal.[5][9][10]

Engineering and university, mining to medicine

A young Terence English using a diamond drill on a dam in Rhodesia
A young Terence English using a diamond drill on a dam in Rhodesia

After leaving school at the age of seventeen, English worked for a year in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), as a diamond driller with the Cementation Company (Africa) Ltd on a dam near Salisbury (now Harare). This skill was useful in providing opportunities for summer jobs while he was studying for a BSc in mining engineering at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, which he completed in 1954.[3][5][9]

His qualifications later provided opportunities for employment in mining exploration in Northern Quebec and the Yukon.[3][9]

A 22 year old Terence English in 1955. Copy of original photograph.
A 22 year old Terence English in 1955. Copy of original photograph.

Medical school

In his penultimate year of engineering, he unexpectedly inherited £2,000 from a family trust and decided this would enable him to change to medicine and spend his professional career as a doctor rather than an engineer.[4] English applied to Guy's Medical School and was accepted by the Dean, George Houston providing he finished his engineering degree successfully. He did this and George Houston was later to play a key role in English's career when he agreed to readmit him after he had resigned during the 2nd year of his studies. Later, he was awarded an honorary fellowships of Guy's Hospital at the same time as Houston.[3][9]

In 1961, English captained the Guy's 1st XV team when they won the Rugby Inter-Hospitals Cup.[3]

Surgical career

After completing medical school and internship,[5] English started his surgical training with leading surgeons including Donald Ross[5] and Sir Russell later Lord Brock.[3][9] He also made a working visit with Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa.[5] After obtaining the FRCS in general surgery he completed his cardiothoracic training at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London Chest and National Heart Hospitals, with a year's research Fellowship with John Kirklin in Birmingham, Alabama.[9]

Heart surgery and Papworth

English became consultant cardiothoracic surgeon to Papworth and Addenbrooke's Hospitals, 1972 – 1995.[9]

A clinical moratorium on heart transplants in the UK was announced by Sir George Godber, Chief Medical Officer (United Kingdom) in February 1973. This was a result of poor results in most units around the world during the years following Christiaan Barnard's first transplant in December 1967 apart from Stanford University's in California where Norman Shumway had pioneered heart transplantation and Barnard's unit in Cape Town. It was felt at the time that cardiac transplantation required more research into the management of rejection, more donors and a change in public opinion. Three months after the moratorium on heart transplantation, English became inspired by a visit to his friend Philip Caves, at Stanford University, who had developed the technique of transvenous endomyocardial biopsy to detect acute organ rejection at an early stage, and was then Chief Resident in Shumway's unit. Caves had been working with pathologist Margaret Billingham, who devised the scoring system for early rejection. This advance and better knowledge of how to use drugs for immunosuppression had led to a significant improvement in results at Stanford and he decided that it was time for the UK to have its own programme of heart transplantation based on what he had seen there. So in October 1973 formal meetings began between surgical colleagues at Papworth and Sir Roy Calne at Addenbrooke's where there was already an active programme of kidney and liver transplantation. In preparation for this English did some open heart surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital and also became involved with Roy Calne's pig heart transplant research.[3][4][9][11]

Subsequently, English embarked on his own research at Huntingdon Research Centre directed towards defining the best way of preserving myocardial function during the period of anoxia between the heart's removal from the donor and its transplantation into the recipient. This comprised a combination of hypothermic, and pharmacological inhibition of metabolism and allowed safe periods of storage of the donor heart for up to 6 hours. By the end of 1977 English felt ready to embark on a clinical programme and submitted his plans to the Transplant Advisory Panel (TAP) of the Department of Health. He was received politely when the TAP met in January 1978 but was later informed that there was no funding for a heart transplant programme and they did not want to see any one-off operations.[11] However, English managed to obtain permission from the Chairman of Cambridge Health Authority to use his facilities at Papworth for two transplants and after the first failed in January 1979, the second in August 1979 was successful and the patient Keith Castle lived for over five years.[3][11][12] English carried on with developing the heart transplant programme and became Director of the British Heart Foundation Transplant Research Unit at Papworth (1980–1998).[5]

In 2013, Eric Hunter's grandson acknowledged English in his tribute to his grandfather who had three consecutive heart transplants.[13]

Factors in the transplant programme development

The artificial heart

English performed the first total artificial heart transplant in the UK in November 1986.[15] A Jarvic 7 heart was used as a bridge to transplantation until a human donor heart could be found and the patient subsequently survived nearly two years.[15]

UK cardiac surgical register

English was involved with establishing the annual UK cardiac surgical register in 1978 which provided annual 30 day mortality statistics for all cardiac operations from every cardiac surgical unit in the UK and Ireland.[16]

Other roles

Member General Medical Council, GMC, 1983-1989

Representing the Royal College of Surgeons, English served initially on the Preliminary Proceedings Committee of the GMC. Later, he became a member of the Education Committee the GMC and was involved in the debate on specialist certification.[9]

President of the International Society for Heart Transplantation 1984–1985

A founding member of the International Society for Heart Transplantation, English subsequently received the Society's Lifetime Achievement Award 2014.[17]

President of Royal College of Surgeons 1989–1992

In 1981, English was elected to the Royal College of Surgeon's Council, following which, in 1989, he became president.

Some of his achievements as President of RCS included:

President of the British Medical Association 1995–1996

English publicly supported the extended role of nurses.[21]

Master of St Catharine's College Cambridge 1993–2000

English in 1997
English in 1997
St Catharine’s College Cambridge
St Catharine’s College Cambridge

Elected master of St Catharine's College, where English spent seven years. In his farewell speech he expressed admiration for the wide educational and social background of the students and their hard work and range of extra-curricular activities. He also regretted the increasing bureaucracy of performance assessment exercises that the academic staff were being subjected to.[22]

Hunterian trustee since 1994

English has been an elected trustee of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons since 1994.

English also became a Member of the Audit Commission 1993–1998,[23] Chief Medical Advisor to Bupa 1992–1999, Deputy Lieutenant, Cambridgeshire 1994–2001 and a Member of Council, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust 1995–2009.[14]

Honours and awards

In addition, English has ten Honorary Fellowships from Medical Colleges around the world and honorary doctorates from Sussex, Hull, Oxford Brookes University, University of Nantes, Mahidol University Thailand and Witwatersrand.[14]

Personal life

English married Ann Dicey in South Africa in 1963. They had four children and raised their family in Cambridge. They divorced in 2001 and she died in 2009. He married Judith Milne (now Judith English) in 2002. She became Principal of St Hilda's College, Oxford and they continue to live in Oxford.[9]


Sir Terence English, 2017
Sir Terence English, 2017

English has continued to be active since retiring, participating in

Books and publications


  1. ^ 'ENGLISH, Sir Terence (Alexander Hawthorne)', Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2013; online edn, Dec 2013. "Follow Your Star – From Mining to Heart Transplants" Authorhouse 2011 ISBN 978-1-4567-7131-7 (sc) accessed 17 Dec 2013
  2. ^ Sources:
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Newton, Charlotte (30 June 2015). "Interview: Sir Terence English". The Bulletin of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 97 (7): 289–291. doi:10.1308/rcsbull.2015.289. ISSN 1473-6357.
  4. ^ a b c wscts_videos (22 January 2014), Interview with Sir Terence English, retrieved 3 August 2017
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Johannesburg, The University of the Witwatersrand. "Sir Terence English – Wits University". Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Oxford Brookes awards honorary doctorates to leading figures – Oxford Brookes University". Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b "British Cardiac Pioneer Sir Terence English Receives Texas Heart Institute's 2014 Ray C. Fish Award". Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  8. ^ contra (19 January 2015). "Sir Terence English". St Catharine's College, Cambridge. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o English, Terence (11 February 2011). Follow Your Star: From Mining To Heart Transplants – A Surgeon'S Story. Milton Keynes: AuthorHouseUK. ISBN 9781456771317.
  10. ^ "Hilton College – OH UK Dinner". Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tansey, EM; Reynolds, LA (September 1999). "Early Heart Transplant Surgery in the UK" (PDF). Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine: 34–42, 50, 53 – via Queen Mary, University of London.
  12. ^ Peter Pugh (2015). The Heart of the Matter: How Papworth Hospital transformed modern heart and lung care. Icon Books Limited. ISBN 978-1-84831-943-1.
  13. ^ OliverBoj (4 June 2013), The Man With Four Hearts – The Story Of Eric Hunter, retrieved 28 July 2017
  14. ^ a b c d e f "About - Sir Terence English Retired Cardiac Surgeon". Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  15. ^ a b "The total artificial heart in a cardiac replacement therapy programme" (PDF). British Journal of Hospital Medicine, Vol 73, No 12. December 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 October 2015.
  16. ^ English, T. A.; Bailey, A. R.; Dark, J. F.; Williams, W. G. (3 November 1984). "The UK cardiac surgical register, 1977–82". Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 289 (6453): 1205–1208. doi:10.1136/bmj.289.6453.1205. ISSN 0007-1447. PMC 1443317. PMID 6437486.
  17. ^ a b "International Society For Heart & Lung Transplantation Reveals 2014 Award Winners" (PDF). International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation. 10 April 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  18. ^ a b "21st Malaysia – Singapore Congress of Medicine 1987". Academy of Medicine Malaysia. 1991. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  19. ^ a b Beecham, Linda (29 March 2015). "Sir Anthony Grabham: Surgeon who transformed the fortunes of the BMA". Independent. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Letter on Assisted Dying". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  21. ^ Inc., DeepDyve (19 June 1996). "Comments on The Future of Healthcare". Nursing Standard. 10 (39): 7. doi:10.7748/ns.10.39.7.s11. ISSN 0029-6570.
  22. ^ "A FAREWELL FROM THE MASTER: SIR TERENCE ENGLISH" (PDF). St Catharine's College Society Magazine. 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 August 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Sir Terence English KBE PPRCS". Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  24. ^ "College Bulletin- Clement Price Thomas Award" (PDF). Royal College of Surgeons Supplement. 68: 3. July 1986. PMC 2498386.
  25. ^ "Annual Meeting – Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland" (PDF). Annual Meeting Notes. March 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  26. ^ "Top surgeon backs pro-Palestinian festival". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  27. ^ "BMA – Assisted dying bill prompts doctors' debate". Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  28. ^ Letters (8 September 2015). "Medical profession's views on the assisted dying bill". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  29. ^ "Kim Cattrall and Susan Hampshire join Dignity in Dying's campaign for choice at the end of life | Dignity in Dying". Dignity in Dying. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
Academic offices Preceded bySir Ian Todd President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 1989–1992 Succeeded bySir Norman Browse