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News > Announcements > Obituaries > John S Garfield (G 43-48)

John S Garfield (G 43-48)

John Samuel Garfield, (G 43-48) MB, MA, Mchir, FRCS, FRCP, RAMC, member of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons, Athenaeum Club, passed away on April 8, 2019 at the age of 89. 
10 Apr 2019

Obituary: John Garfield


John Garfield was born on February 13 1930 in London, son of Montagu and Marguerite (Elman) Garfield. He was educated at Bradfield College (G 43-48), Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and St Mary’s where he qualified as a doctor in 1954. He then served as Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, from 1956-1958. He received his Master of Surgery, Cambridge University, London, in 1962. He worked as a consultant neurosurgeon at Wessex Neurological Centre, Southampton, from 1968-1992, and was an emeritus consultant, 1992-2008. He has been clinical teacher of neurosurgery, University of Southampton, since 1975.He was chairman of the Wessex Regional Medical Advisory Committee, 1983-1987, and President of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons, 1990-1992. He is still often quoted because of his famous saying “you can teach a baboon how to operate, but you can never teach a baboon how not to operate”.

John Garfield was also a photographer and the author of a number of books of photography. He has exhibited regularly since 1981, and after his retirement in 1992 he dedicated his life fully to working in black and white photography. Well-known are his books, “The Fallen”, a photographic journey through cemeteries and memorials of the Great War, first published in 1990, and an updated an expanded version was published in 2008, and The John Garfield Archive of Turner Sims concert photographs. The five albums of photographs reflect his work chronicling images of music: he photographed performers at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton, from 1996-2009.

During his active years as neurosurgeon he was also active within the EANS (The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies) both in the Board and as teacher at Training Courses. The invitation to hold the European Lecture is an opportunity for EANS to pay respect to those who have made a significant contribution to neurosurgery or has played an important role in the affairs of the EANS. This honour was bestowed upon John Garfield in 1993 during the Winter Meeting in Rome. The title of his lecture was ‘The Eye, the Brain and the Camera’.

In 1995 during the European Congress in Berlin the participants received his book "The History and the Cities"; a beautiful photographic grand tour of all the cities where EANS congresses and Training Courses had taken place since its foundation in 1971. In 2017, during the congress in Venice, the participants received a second book, as he called it himself “the rogues gallery”, with black and white photos of those neurosurgeons who had been instrumental for the founding and growth of the EANS from 1971 until 1999, a tribute to many of his lifelong friends. John's calm, kind and compassionate manner reflected his essential goodness - a view echoed when we heard the news of his passing. 


John Garfield in front of his photographic exhibition "Armistice 1918 - the cost" in Hartley Library, University of Southampton, November 2018.




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