Dr Alex George Larson

Personal Details

Dr Alex George Larson

 21/06/1927 to 10/06/2009

Place of birth: Clark’s Harbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Nationality: Canadian and British

CRN: 507624

Education and qualifications

General education

Newcastle Grammar School.

Primary medical qualification(s)

MBBS, Durham University 1952

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Examination

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

D.A. London 1959. ECFMG 1962.

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After qualification in 1952 and house jobs in The Royal Infirmary Sunderland, Dr Larson was SHO in surgery at Tynemouth Victoria Jubilee Infirmary, North Shields from 1953 to 1954. Subsequently he was medical officer with the South Pacific Health Service in the Cook Islands from 1954 to 1957. He was appointed JHMO in anaesthetics in 1957 with South East Northumberland H.M.C. and was promoted to Registrar in 1960. He became the anaesthetic senior registrar at East Grinstead in 1963 and from 1963 to 1964 Anesthesia Research Fellow in Philadelphia. On 22nd September 1964 he was appointed Whole Time Consultant Anaesthetist to the Portsmouth Group of Hospitals, an appointment he took up on 1st January 1965.

Professional interests and activities

During his 23 years at Portsmouth Dr Larson achieved a great deal. He established the chronic pain clinic in Portsmouth, one of the first in Britain. He developed a number of nerve blocks including intrathecal neurolysis, percutaneous cordotomy and an epidural morphine service for intractable pain in cancer patients. He took charge of the 4 bedded resuscitation unit for trauma patients at The Royal Hospital in Portsmouth and developed it into a 12 bedded Intensive Care Unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital, which he ran until his retirement in 1988. He also ran the handicapped dental clinic and gave anaesthetics for chest surgery and mitral valvotomies. From 1974 to 1981 Alex Larson was Associate Dean of Medicine at Southampton University Medical Faculty and from 1973 to 1983 he was a link man for the Asociation of Anaesthetists of Great Britain. From 1970 to 1985 he was regional adviser to the supplies division and from 1983 to 1985 a member of the regional C awards committee. From 1973 to 1983 he was chairman of the Portsmouth Operating department committee and from 1967 to 1970 and 1971 to 1973 he was Chairman of Portsmouth Anaesthetic Division. He was a member of The Portsmouth Ethical Committee and of the Queen Alexandra Hospital Commissioning Team and one of the “three wise men”. He was a keen and effective teacher, lectured regularly, established a course for nurses in anaesthesia, which became a national standard and also ran a course for operating department assistants which also became a national standard. He had numerous publications. In recognition of his achievements the anaesthetic department museum at Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth has been named after him.

Other biographical information

Alex Larson emigrated to England with his mother and older sisters in 1934 following the death of his father due to complications from an injury sustained during World War One. He failed the 11+ examination and attended a local council school in London. He was evacuated to Penrith in Cumbria in 1940 where he stayed for the remainder of the war. His educational abilities were recognised by his teachers and he was able to attend Newcastle Grammar School, which had also been evacuated to Penrith. From 1945 to 1946 he did his National Service in The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. His application to study medicine was almost refused because he had not studied Latin at school, however he was accepted by Durham University, and lived locally in Whitley Bay. He married Bunty in 1950 and they had three children, Helga, Simon and Claire, and three grandchildren. He retired at 60 in 1987. In his retirement he enjoyed art and woodcarving and gained a grade A at A-Level in art and design at the age of 65. He died on 10th June 2009 at 81.

Author and Sources

Author: Robert Julian Palmer.

Sources and any other comments: Obituary BMJ 2009; 339:b3824, personal communication and papers from his daughter Claire. A photograph can be seeen at https://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b3824