April 2018 | Aibreán 2018

Prof Edward Guiney RIP

Fri, 13 April 18 18:48

The death has been announced of Professor Edward Guiney (UCD MB BCh BAO 1956, MCh 1961), a distinguished alumnus who had a stellar career as an internationally recognised paediatric surgeon, researcher and teacher.

Commenting on the passing of his former colleague, UCD Professor of Paediatrics, Professor Brendan Drumm noted,

Eddie Guiney had a great intellect, qualifying at the top of the class in UCD. He was a man of remarkable humility whose focus in life was on contributing to the betterment of society.  He was a skilled paediatric surgeon who treated sick children and their families with such genuine kindness and caring.  Wisdom and generosity of spirit are attributes that I will always associate with Eddie and I was privileged to benefit from these through his advice and constant encouragement.

We offer our condolences to Professor Guiney’s family and friends, former colleagues and patients.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

By way of tribute, we reproduce an interview with Professor Guiney recorded on the occasion of his retirement in 2011 which was first published in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s News Scope publication.  Reproduced with the kind permission of RCSI.

Interview with Professor Edward Guiney, Retired Paediatric Surgeon

Originally published in RCSI, News Scope, September 2011, Issue 3.

In Barry O’Donnell’s book ‘Irish Surgeons and Surgery in the Twentieth Century’, Professor Edward Guiney is described as a ‘quick, superb technical surgeon, who showed great humanity in dealing with patients and parents’ and also as ‘a prodigious worker’. It is probably these characteristics that led Professor Guiney to have such a successful career as a Paediatric surgeon.

Professor Guiney was born in 1931 in Dublin and educated at Belvedere College before going on to study medicine in University College Dublin and graduating in 1956. Eddie spent his postgraduate years working at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin before moving to the Regional Hospital Galway in 1957 for two years where he was a senior house officer and registrar. In 1958 he moved back to Dublin as senior registrar and tutor in surgery in St. Vincent’s Hospital, completing a Master of Surgery (MCh) degree in 1961. Having been awarded a two-year travelling Fellowship in surgery by the NUI, Professor Guiney went to St Thomas’s Hospital in London between 1960 – 1961 as a lecturer in surgery and following that as a Research Fellow in Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Upon his return from the United States, Eddie lectured in surgery in UCD until 1965. It was around this time that Prof Guiney decided to move into paediatric surgery. From 1965 to 1966 he worked as a senior surgical registrar in the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool before returning to Dublin as a consultant paediatric surgeon in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children and Temple Street Hospital (1966 – 1997) and the National Children’s Hospital, Harcourt Street (1970 – 1997), often working a one-on-one rota in his hospital appointments.

Throughout his entire career, Eddie was actively involved in research, culminating in his appointment as Director of Research at the Children’s Research Centre in 1976 a post he held until 1989. While in St. Thomas’s he was involved in work on the lymphatic system and at Massachusetts General, he was involved in transplantation biology. In Dublin, he was concerned with liver surgery and transplantation. He led an experimental liver transplant surgery at the UCD Research Centre, which resulted in the survival of a number of pigs, one of which gave birth to fourteen piglets. As you can no doubt imagine, in 1972 this was a world first and led to his involvement in the national liver transplant programme at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin. His other clinical interest during his career was in the management of children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

When asked to reflect on his career, Prof Guiney recalls Joe McMullen as having a large influence on his career progression. ‘I had a lot of respect and admiration for him and he is probably the one surgeon that really stands out for me,’ Prof Guiney said. Working as a surgeon, he said ‘was a great career, very satisfying and I feel very privileged with what comes from such a career.’

Prof Guiney is firm believer in the importance of post-operative care and communication. ‘Aside from obviously the technical aspect of being a surgeon, post-operative care and communication are essential, especially when it comes to working with children. Communication with parents is essential. When you have a child as a patient, you actually have three patients; the mother, the father and the child itself.

When asked whether it was hard to work with children, Prof Guiney said that it is a question he gets asked a lot but ‘it’s not hard, as long as you’re properly trained. Children have their own way of communicating and you just have to learn this.’

Prof Guiney was elected as President of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons. His election as President against a strong London candidate was a tremendous personal achievement for Eddie and it mirrored the esteem in which he was held. He also served as President of the Society for Research in Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and of the Irish Paediatric Association.

Unfortunately in 2006 Eddie’s wife Sheila passed away. They had three children, Eddie, Michael and Carina. Eddie is the award-winning film producer and co-founder of Element Pictures.  Michael is a Consultant Radiologist in St James’s Hospital and the Beacon Hospital and Carina lives in Belfast and has two children. He was an avid reader and a keen sports spectator.  After his retirement, Professor Guiney continued to work as a Surgeon Prosector in RCSI up to 2014, following on from his role as RCSI Professor of Paediatric Surgery (1991 – 1997) and later Professor Emeritus at the College.


Adapted from an article courtesy of RCSI originally published in RCSI News Scope, September 2011.  Photo credit: Irish Surgeons and Surgery in the Twentieth Century, B.O’Donnell