Breaking: Thurles man Professor Gerry O'Donoghue receives prestigious award from Royal College of Surgeons

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon


Gerry O'Donoghue

Professor Gerry O'Donoghue receives his award.

Professor Gerry, formerly of Clongour, Thurles receives an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons 

UK based Thurles man, Professor Gerry O'Donoghue has received a prestigious Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in recognition of his huge contribution to medicine.
This is the highest honour the College awards and while it is sometimes awarded to those who make significant contributions to mankind in other ways eg Seamus Heaney, Mary NcAleese, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter to mention but a few, it is usually to those who have made a major contribution to their medical field.
Formerly of Clongour, Thurles, Professor Gerry O’Donoghue is a distinguished Otolaryngologist Head and Neck Surgeon.
He spent his early childhood immersed in Irish culture, where he developed a deep love for the Irish language and the native Tipperary sport of hurling, according to the citation read out at the awards ceremony.
The citation continued, “As a medical student in UCC, in the early 70s, Gerry became interested in the field of surgery and a young French student who was studying English at the same time in Cork – Raphaele – who later became his wife and lifelong support.
Having obtained his FRCSI in General Surgery, Gerry embarked upon specialist surgical training in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, London and the Radcliffe Infirmary Oxford.
Perhaps the motto of this great London teaching hospital - Audient surdi mutique loquentur - “The deaf shall hear and the mute shall speak” influenced Gerry to seek fellowship training in the US, at the Boston University Hospital and the House Ear Institute Los Angeles, where ground breaking research was being carried out into the surgical management of profound deafness in children, and adults. Combining innovative microsurgical techniques and electrical implant technology, Gerry was one of the early pioneers in the development of Cochlear implant Surgery and in breaking the barrier of deafness .
Gerry returned to the UK and through his work as an NHS Consultant in Nottingham established the UK’s first dedicated Paediatric Cochlear Implant programme in 1989.

Professor Gerry O'Donoghue (centre) pictured with his family members.

At that time there was no NHS funding for what was considered, an experimental operation, so Gerry established the charitable “Ear Foundation” to fund the Cochlear Implantation programme.
Cochlear Implant Surgery is now an established approach in the management of children who are born deaf and Gerry has become a Global Ambassador for the training of surgeons and the establishment of Cochlear Implant Programmes Internationally. To this end, Gerry has worked extensively throughout Serbia and the Indian subcontinent, where he holds several honorary Professorships.
One of the programmes, which remains close to his heart is the Irish Programme which Gerry helped to establish with the visionary Professor Laura Vianni, Director of the National Cochlear Implant Programme in Dublin and RCSI Member of Council.
As a result of his ground breaking surgical work and humanitarian exploits, Gerry has been cited in the Guinness World Records for surgical Innovation and hailed by The Times of London as one of Britain’s Top Doctors. Some of the many distinctions and awards which Gerry has received:
The Hunterian Professorship at the Royal College of Surgeons of England,
Presidency of Otology and Toynbee Memorial Lecturer at the Royal Society of Medicine,
William House Lecturer of the American Neuro-otological Society,
Current Master of the British Academic Conference of Otolaryngology,
He is especially proud of being awarded the Sir William Wilde Medal by the Irish Otolaryngology Head and Neck Society.
Gerry continues to be a passionate believer in advancing surgery through science, and to this end has co-founded the UK’s National Institute of Health Research’s Unit in Hearing. He led the recent Lancet Review on “global hearing health” and is driving the WHO to complete its World Report on Deafness.
Currently, Gerry is leading a global consortium on hearing restoration through stem cell therapy - hoping that one day stem cell implantation will replace cochlear implantation.
Gerry returns to his Irish and French roots, when time allows finding solace, sailing the waters of west Cork or skiing in the French Alps, he is forever grateful to his wife, Raphaele and family, who have supported him throughout this amazing surgical journey.
I am sure you will Gerry agree, is worthy of the highest distinction this College has to offer - the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland,” the citation concluded.
Heartiest congratulations to Professor Gerry who enjoyed a great celebration in the company of family and friends.