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J
. Dermot O'Flynn was born in Cobh, Co. Cork on
January 27, 1920. He had a long life and was aged
93 when he died in January 2014. Dermot had an
idyllic upbringing in Cobh, where aquatic activities
dominated the lives of the young people. A devotion
to sailing was to remain with him throughout his life,
a pastime he continued to practice in adulthood at the Royal Irish
Yacht Club where he became Captain of the Dragon Fleet.
He received his early education in Cobh, from the Mercy Nuns
at primary level, and the Christian Brothers at secondary level.
Matriculating early at the age of 17, he opted for medicine at UCC,
gaining honours and second place in surgery. After a three-week
locum in Cork, he accepted a house surgeon's post in Mansfield,
Nottinghamshire, England. After six months, he applied for a job in
Lincoln County Hospital, and was assigned to Mr Geoffrey Walters,
who had an interest in urology and, as a consequence, Dermot
assisted with a lot of urological surgery. This awakened a lifelong
interest in this new burgeoning specialty. Dermot spent 12 months in
Lincoln.
The country was in the midst of World War II and Dermot joined the
Royal Army Medical Corps. After a short period of army training,
he was deployed to Accra, the capital of Ghana in West Africa.
Ultimately, he was promoted to the post of Chief of Surgery at the
Kumasi barracks in Ghana.
At the end of the war, Dermot obtained the Edinburgh Fellowship
and shortly afterwards was offered a urological training post in
Edinburgh at the Western General Hospital with Mr David Band and
Mr Selby Tulloch. In January 1952, Dermot was appointed Consultant
in Urology at a state-of-the-art urological unit at the Meath Hospital
in Dublin.
He was an excellent teacher, especially in the area of endoscopic
urology. First experience of a prostatectomy at the Meath was always
a source of amazement to new residents for its rapidity and virtual
bloodlessness. The fact that so many residents who worked at the
unit acquired the skills and spread the gospel abroad to countries as
diverse as the US, Australia, India, Thailand, and the UK, is testament
to Dermot's surgical skills and his teaching ability.
Dermot had a lifelong commitment to medical publication. Of all of
his publications, two, in particular, were of outstanding importance.
A review of 3,083 prostatectomies was published in the Journal of
the Irish Medical Association in 1967 and was followed by an invited
publication on the same subject in the Journal of Hospital Medicine
by its editor Professor John Blandy a year later. The publications are
milestones in the surgery of benign prostate disease in Great Britain
and Ireland.
Dermot also played an important part in the formalisation of
urological training in Great Britain and Ireland. The Meath Unit
was assigned two Senior Registrar posts on the establishment
of the specialty training programme in urology in 1971. He
made a significant contribution, not only to the format of the
training programme but also to the structure of the specialist exit
examination. The Irish Society of Urology was founded in 1971
and its rules and regulations were largely conceived by Dermot. To
date, the constitution remains largely unchanged, a testament to his
foresight and talent for organisation.
Dermot was active in medical politics and was elected a member
of the Medical Council, serving in that role from 1983 to 1993.
He chaired the medical board at the Meath for a number of years
and sat on the hospital board for two decades. In 1968, he became
an Ad Eundem Fellow of RCSI. In 1992, he became the first Ad
Eundem Fellow, and the first Corkonian, to be elected President of
RCSI. During his Presidency, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of
the London and Glasgow Colleges. The Royal College of Surgeons
Edinburgh awarded him a Presidential Gold Medal in respect of his
many achievements in Urology.
Dermot was married to Monica Kelliher. Dermot and Monica, who
died in 1984, had four sons, Desmond, Dermot, Kieran and Brian,
and one daughter, Denise. Kieran followed in his father's footsteps
and is a distinguished Urologist in Manchester. Dermot is Director of
Professional Development and Corporate Training at the Institute of
Leadership, RCSI, where he lectures to healthcare professionals.
Blessed with great leadership qualities, J. Dermot O'Flynn, had an
aura of composure, which he retained under any form of pressure.
His sustained contribution to medicine, surgical education and the
development of his profession throughout his long life is a unique and
lasting one.
RIP.
Mr Michael Butler, RCSI Past-President (2002-2004).
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J. DERMOT
O'FLYNN
1920 - 2014
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