former Rotunda master and champion of women’s health


George Henry (1938-2021) attended St Columba’s College and then Trinity College Dublin to study medicine. After his diploma, he left to continue his training and returned to occupy a post of clerk at the Rotonde in 1965. He became chief assistant to the master, before becoming a consultant and was then elected master in 1981 and completed the seven-year term. to finish in 1987.

His time as a master coincided with poor public finances and the hospital found itself with a significant funding gap, so he had to face not only the challenge of ensuring the best possible patient care, but also maintenance of building infrastructure.

He managed this successfully through cost containment and an expanded fundraising program. He sought to improve the conditions of patients in the labor room, operating room and outpatients as well as postnatal accommodation. His plans were accepted by the Ministry of Health and the work was completed in 1993.

The pillar room had been a vision of Bartholomew Mosse and had been used to raise funds for the hospital, but it had become dilapidated and in need of refurbishment. Dr Henry led a fundraising campaign to redevelop the room into a new conference and teaching center and oversaw its reopening by the Department of Health in 1985. Dr Henry was keenly aware of social and societal issues and acknowledged the lack of sexual violence services. In 1985, with his support, the first dedicated sexual assault treatment unit was opened on the hospital site and the Rotonde now runs the national service. He was famous for taking care of all his patients; he spared no effort to ensure that those in need of care or services had access to it. He participated in improving the lot of asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa at the end of the 1990s. He was also very aware of the need for good family planning, access to sterilization but also to fertility treatments and encouraged the development of these services as part of a comprehensive package of health care for women. Dr Henry was the last master to live on site with his family in the old master’s house, which became the teaching unit of the Royal College of Surgeons and the human assisted reproduction unit.

During the later stages of his career, he spent much of his time teaching and encouraging his interns to instill the value of support, communication and friendliness. He was the reason many of us started and stayed in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was involved in every social event and made sure everyone was included. His legacy lives on and has made La Rotonde one of the best hospitals to work in because of this culture that he values ​​so much.

He retired from practice in 2003. Everyone who worked with him remembers him fondly, he was a legendary figure whose spirit lives on in those he taught. He is survived by his wife, Hilary, two children, Rachel and Jonathan, and five grandchildren.


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