May 2014

Prof John Fitzpatrick FRCSI FEBU FC Urol (SA) FRCSGlas FRCS

Thu, 15 May 14 10:00

Prof John Fitzpatrick FRCSI FEBU FC Urol (SA) FRCSGlas FRCS

The sudden death has been announced of Professor John Fitzpatrick FRCSI FEBU FRCS, distinguished academic clinician, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science, former consultant urologist and Chairman, Division of Surgery at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society.

Born and educated in Dublin, John Michael Fitzpatrick graduated in 1971 from the UCD School of Medicine with a Bachelor in Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery completing his intern medical training at St Vincent’s University Hospital.  He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1975 and received his Masters in Surgery in 1976 at UCD.  He was also a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and a Fellow of College of Urologists of South Africa.

In the absence of a formal urology specialty training programme in Ireland, John undertook a number of clinical appointments at leading UK centres where he was exposed to new minimally invasive surgery techniques and emerging robotic surgery.  Between 1977 and 1981, he trained in the St. Peter’s Hospitals and the Institute of Urology in London.  A short posting in Mainz, Germany launched what would become a career-long interest in research and he built many enduring professional connections across both the UK and Europe.  Through the Urological Research Society and the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, he formed many more friendships and alliances across North America in the subsequent years.    

He returned to Dublin in 1981 when he was appointed Consultant Urologist and Senior Lecturer in Urology in the Meath and St. James’ Hospitals and Trinity College Dublin.  In 1986, Professor Fitzpatrick was appointed as a consultant urologist and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital and Professor of Surgery at University College Dublin. 

He was an academic clinician scientist of distinction, advancing surgical techniques and urology training throughout his career. His commitment and success in promoting and nurturing young clinicians and scientist is evident through the esteemed positions many of these individuals hold worldwide. Prof Fitzpatrick’s research interests included renal ischaemia, ureteric obstruction, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatic carcinoma, minimally invasive surgery, reconstructive urology, infertility and erectile dysfunction.  He built a major research programme in prostate cancer with Professor Bill Watson (UCD Associate Professor of Cancer Biology) and was a founding member of the Prostate Cancer Research Consortium, a groundbreaking collaboration between UCD, TCD, RCSI, DCU and their affiliated teaching hospitals. He will be fondly remembered for his interactive and probing discussions at the consortiums meetings, always keeping the group on its toes and up today with the latest thinking. 

An internationally recognised clinician, Prof Fitzpatrick held over 45 visiting professor appointments at leading academic centres worldwide.  Prof Fitzpatrick published extensively throughout his career.  He authored over 280 peer reviewed journal articles, over 100 book chapters, edited 18 text books, was the Editor-in-Chief of the BJU International and sat on the editorial board of 25 other Academic Journals.  These editorial roles allowed him to combine his passion for science, design creativity and new publishing technologies.  Prof Fitzpatrick also served as the Chair or member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Plethora Solutions Holdings PLC, VivoMEDICA PLC and as a Member of the Medical Advisory Board at Wilex AG.

He served as President of the British Association of Urological Surgeons and of the Irish Society of Urology. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Urological Foundation and was Chairman of the Scientific Committee of that Foundation. He was Honorary Fellow of the College of Urologists of South Africa and an Honorary member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons and of the American Urological Association as well as an Honorary member of the Urological Societies of Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, India, Hungary, Argentina, Greece, and Georgia.

In 2012, following his retirement from UCD, Prof Fitzpatrick was appointed Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, a role he executed with his characteristic energy and enthusiasm. His vision of the Irish Cancer Society’s Collaborative Cancer Research Centres, was realised with the funding of BREAST-PREDICT a transformative new research model of collaboration and international partnership in Ireland.

Professor Fitzpatrick is survived by his wife Carol (Emeritus UCD Professor of Child Psychiatry) and their children, Andrew, Emma and Gareth.  He will be fondly remembered by colleagues across University College Dublin, the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Irish Medicine and by a global network of urologists, scientists and clinicians which he helped to build and led with distinction.  The UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science offers its sincere condolences to Carol their children and extended family.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.