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Denis Sugrue was born in Dublin on 10 March 1927. He was educated at the Catholic University School and Blackrock College. He commenced his medical studies in University College Dublin (UCD) in 1944. The following year he was awarded a Kitchener Scholarship. He achieved the MB, BAO and BCh degrees in 1950. He then came to England to pursue postgraduate training in ENT. He obtained the DLO RCS England in 1953 and the MCh, National University of Ireland in 1954.
At the University, Denis joined the Boat Club and he was most fortunate in being a participant in a successful era of UCD rowing, which culminated in 1948 with his selection to cox the Irish Olympic Eight in the London Olympic Games. In 2012, he was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Olympic Council of Ireland.
Abandoning ENT in favour of plastic surgery, Denis accepted the post of registrar at Rooksdown House. (His famous interview by Sir Harold Giles was recounted in the BMJ volume 314, 11 January 1997). He was appointed Honorary Consultant Plastic Surgeon to the Children's Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin, and to the International Missionary Training Hospital, Drogheda, where he pioneered in plastic surgery, and his work was recognised and published internationally.
In 1968, Denis accepted the post of consultant plastic surgeon at the General Hospital in Tripoli, Kingdom of Libya. The work was challenging. Unfortunately, as a result of a radical change of regime, courtesy of Colonel Gadaffi, Denis found himself unceremoniously returning to England.
It was urgent that he found employment and a consultant post as quickly as possible. To this end, he was advised to consider a change of speciality, and he was appointed to a post at St Thomas Hospital in what was then classified as venereology. Subsequently, Denis became the registrar and then the senior registrar at Southampton. He was appointed as consultant venereologist to the North and Mid-Staffordshire Hospitals in 1972. Denis was active in promoting the new vision of venereology and was a founder member as well as the first president of the Midlands Society of Genitourinary Medicine.
Denis remained in his post in North Staffordshire Hospital until his retirement in 1992. He was dedicated to the care of his patients as well as to teaching his junior colleagues. He gave unflinching support, advice and friendship to his consultant colleagues.
Denis died peacefully on 23 July 2014. His wife, two daughters and grandchildren survive him.
Competing interests None.
Editor's note Please view the accompanying Blog: http://blogs.bmj.com/sti/2014/11/27/obituary-of-denis-lambert-sugrue/
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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