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BMJ. 2007 May 26; 334(7603): 1119.
PMCID: PMC1877924

Florence Claire Ruth Brown (née Richardson)

After qualifying, Ruth Richardson found herself unable to return to her native Jersey, and her request to join the war effort was declined. She therefore decided to pursue her interest in surgery, initially specialising in children's work through a series of house jobs at the Sheffield General Infirmary, Children's Hospital Birmingham, Royal Bradford Infirmary, and Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield, before her appointment as senior surgical registrar in thoracic surgery at Hill Top Hospital, Bromsgrove. Marriage to a Nottinghamshire general practitioner, Bob Brown, in 1952 prompted her move to the Nottingham City Hospital. In 1967, the family emigrated to New Zealand and settled in Hawkes Bay. Ruth took up anaesthetics at the Memorial Hospital in Hastings until she and Bob decided to wind up their professional lives in 1977 with a two year stint of voluntary work at the Braun Health Centre in Finschaffen on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. It was a gruelling finale to a career, but in Papua New Guinea Ruth was in her element, tackling everything surgical with a minimum of facilities, and Bob handling everything else from anaesthetics to outpatients. She and Bob retired to the South Island of New Zealand, where they devoted their energies to the conservation of native flora and fauna. Ruth remained active in community work and loved classical music. Predeceased by Bob in 1994, she is survived by two sons, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.


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