Dr Ruth Hutchinson

Personal Details

Dr Ruth Hutchinson BA MBBChir FFARCS DObs DA

23/08/1928 to 05/02/2020

Place of birth: Barrow in Furness, Lancashire (then)

Nationality: British

CRN: 505316

Education and qualifications

General education

Murrayfield School, Heswall, The Wirral, Cheshire; St Leonards School, St Andrews, Fife; Newnham College, Cambridge (captain, university lacrosse club); St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)

MBBChir, Cambridge, 1953

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Examination

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

BA, Cambridge, 1950; DObs, RCOG, 1956; DA(RCP&S), 1956

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After qualification, Ruth was house surgeon in Bournemouth, house physician, North Middlesex Hospital, and SHO in Obstetrics & Gynaecology in Winchester before starting anaesthetic training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital (house officer, 1955-6; SHO, 1956-7).  She then spent a year in the USA, on the junior staff of the University Hospital of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia before returning to the UK as a registrar in Cardiff. From 1961 she was SR at St Thomas’s Hospital before being appointed a consultant in Poole/Bournemouth in 1964. In 1980 she decided on a career change, and moved to Zimbabwe (where she had relatives) as consultant at Parirenyata & Harare Hospitals, retiring in 2003.

Professional interests and activities

Early career interests were awareness during anaesthesia (publishing from Cardiff the first study of its incidence – BJA 1961; 33: 463-9) and the amelioration of suxamethonium ‘pains’ with gallamine. A conscientious, competent and well liked consultant colleague, she is recalled (by Dr Bob Frew) as teaching ‘proper’ pre-operative assessment. On arrival in Harare she found the anaesthetic department in some disarray, but quickly sorted the many problems and improved training, sending many colleagues to Poole for this, On the wider front, she was president of the Zimbabwe Anaesthetic Association (1988-92) and organised/chaired the first ‘all Africa’ anaesthetic congress in Harare in 1997. In recognition of her services to Africa she received the AAGBI’s Pask award (1991) and honorary membership (2004).

Other biographical information

Her father, a flour miller in Barrow, died when she was five, and the family moved to The Wirral in Cheshire where she grew up. After retiring she returned to the UK to live on Hayling Island where her activities included playing the clarinet, golf, tennis, kalking, bridge and concert attendance.

Author and sources


Drs Robert Palmer & Michael Skivington

Sources and Comments:

[1] Personal communication with the subject
[2] Additional information from Drs Bob Frew & Alistair McKenzie  [3] Archives of Newnham College, Cambridge.