It is an insight into the character of a man who, when asked to reflect on a defining moment in his illustrious surgical career, pays tribute to the patient whose life he saved rather than bask in his own extraordinary achievements. And if this feature were no longer than the first paragraph, it would be enough to convey insight into the nature of a remarkable man.
I have more than a passing interest in his illustrious career. My own father suffered from heart disease in his forties and had a life chequered with cardiac surgery. Kicking off with coronary artery bypass surgery in 1981, he wore his chest scar with pride. His ‘zipper’ was, he believed, testimony to ‘that wonderful British institution that is the National Health Service’. So, with this in mind, I take great pleasure in speaking with Sir Terence at his home one warm September morning.