Patrick Sherwood Harkness Browne
29 April 1932 - 16 December 2013
Patrick was born on the 29th April 1932 in Oxford England, the eldest son to parents William and Florence, brother to siblings Elizabeth and Richard. Patrick was an excellent scholar and he enthusiastically fulfilled his parents' wishes to study medicine, graduating from the Westminster Medical School in 1956 before entering the Royal Navy as Surgeon Lieutenant from 1959-1962.
Whilst enlisted with the Royal Navy Patrick married Eileen Mitchell in 1960, having met her whilst studying for surgery at a Royal College of Surgeons Primary Fellowship Course. The next decade proved to be eventful and rewarding for Patrick and Eileen as they moved often with Patrick accepting various positions as an orthopaedic registrar in theUKandMalta. Patrick and Eileen were blessed with their four children Ann, Catherine, Philip and Gillian all born in theUK. Patrick passed his Primary Fellowship Examination with the Royal College of Surgeons in 1963.
Patrick applied for and accepted the position as Senior Lecturer at the University of Tasmania Medical School in 1971. He was an Honorary Orthopaedic Surgeon at theRoyalHobartHospitaland theRepatriation GeneralHospitalas well as enjoying a successful private orthopaedic practice inHobart. Patrick was a member of both the British Orthopaedic Association and the Australian Orthopaedic Association.
Patrick was an accomplished, competent and well respected surgeon who practiced a broad spectrum of orthopaedic surgery however his main areas of interest were in the management of trauma, paediatric surgery and lower limb joint replacement which was at that time in Tasmania was in its relative infancy.
Patrick was perhaps most memorably an exceptional teacher who was able to pass on his knowledge and experience at whatever level the experience of his students required. Ward rounds I recall generally encompassed a large entourage of followers including residents, medical students, nursing staff, physiotherapists, plaster technicians and various others, all keen to learn from Patrick's broad practical and commonsensical approach to orthopaedics - they were rarely disappointed. I had the rare privilege of having been tutored by Patrick through the three major stages of my medical career spanning initially a medical student, progressing through to a Resident Medical Officer and in the last three years before his retirement as a junior orthopaedic consultant. Like everyone I held Patrick in the greatest respect and I am sure that reflecting back over my early years, it was Patrick who acted as a major role model that inspired me to continue with orthopaedic training. Patrick was rarely critical or ill-tempered and his nursing staff both in the operating theatres and on the wards held him with the greatest esteem and affection. Patrick however did not suffer fools and if the occasion demanded an offender could be put in place with a well delivered and timely remark that left no doubt in anyone's mind that Patrick was unhappy with the situation. Only once when I was a medical student did I witness Patrick a little agitated with one of his junior residents when he noticed some very swollen blue fingers being discharged through the Out-Patients door in a very less than satisfactory plaster cast following a Colles' fracture.
Patrick's health began to decline in 1984 and he recognised that the pure physicality of work as an orthopaedic surgeon was not going to agree with him. In 1988 he made the difficult decision to retire at the relatively young age of fifty-six but continued to involve himself with medico-legal work. He also wrote and had published two orthopaedic text books entitled (with typical understatement) "Basic Facts in Orthopaedics" and "Basic Facts in Fractures". Both these books became standard texts for medical students and junior house officers.
In his retirement Patrick enjoyed walking and reading. He was an avid reader particularly enjoying biographies, history and philosophy along with his constant companions "The Economist" and P.G Wodehouse. Patrick enjoyed music and following retirement he taught himself to play the piano but never to the level where he considered himself to be a musician. Patrick was an active member regularly attendingSt George'sAnglican Church in Battery Point. Patrick also enjoyed playing bridge and it was perhaps ironic that it was whilst playing bridge that he suffered his final fatal heart attack.
Patrick was a proud and loving father to his four children and a doting grandfather to his eleven grandchildren.
Apart from managing his own somewhat premature retirement, much of Patrick's life in his last decade was devoted to Eileen who unfortunately gradually began to lose physical and mental capacity before her passing in 2012. Patrick was a devoted and constant companion which gave both Eileen and himself much pleasure and satisfaction in nurturing the ongoing lifelong bonds that they had shared together for so many years. In January 2014 half of Patrick ashes were scattered with Eileen's inGrenadain the Caribbean where Eileen spent her childhood years while the remaining ashes were scattered at the church in Stalisfield inKentwhere Patrick's parents and his brother rest.
Patrick was a fortunate man. He had the love and support of his family and friends, eternal gratitude from his patients, and the upmost respect from his colleagues. I doubt he would have changed a thing.
Obituary kindly provided by Peter Clements.