submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 24.09.2011
MB BS, BSc, MD, MS, MSc, BA, MRACP, FRACS, FRCS, FRCS (Ed), FACS
A Medical Man Abroad Who Never Forgot Where He Came From
Dr Mitchell Notaras was born in 1933 to Greek immigrant parents in Grafton, where he was raised. His secondary education commenced at Grafton High School and concluded at Newington College, Sydney. He entered Sydney University Medical School at age 16 as a recipient of a Commonwealth Government Scholarship. As a university student he appreciated the medical and surgical experience gained at the Grafton Base Hospital with doctors Mulhearn, Harris and Holland.
Dr Notaras undertook his clinical undergraduate studies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where he returned after graduation in the posts of Junior and Senior Medical Officer. To gain experience abroad, he travelled to England working as a ship’s surgeon on a cargo boat.
Dr Notaras continued his studies while working at the Hamersmith Hospital. He obtained Fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and England. He also held the posts of Senior Registrar and Medical Research Council Fellow at St Marks Hospital for Colorectal Diseases, London; and Senior Registrar in Surgery, University College Hospital, London.
Dr Notaras became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He held a number of consultant posts including Senior Lecturer and Hon. Consultant Surgeon, at University College Hospital, London; and was a Consultant Surgeon to the Italian Hospital London, St Lukes Hospital for the Clergy, and Barnet and Edgeware General Hospitals. He was a recognized teacher in surgery at the University of London, and visited and lectured in 28 countries.
Dr Notaras had a special interest in colorectal surgery, mesh repair of hernias, and rectal prolapse. He introduced Lateral Subcutaneous internal Anal Spincterotomy for anal fissure, now an established procedure.
Visiting academic posts included Professor in Surgery, at the University of Curatiba, Brazil, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the University of Khartoum, Sudan.
Dr Notaras published in various surgical journals, and wrote chapters for a number of surgical textbooks, including Maingot’s Textbook of Abdominal Surgery, Robb and Smith’s Textbook of Operative Surgery, Nyhus’s Textbook of Operative Surgery, Nyhus’s Textbook of Abdominal Surgery (Spanish), and Surgical Clinics of North America. He was a member of the Editorial Board of two journals, ColoProctology, and Hernia.
Dr Notaras established a company, Abgene (later taken over by Apogent Corporation, USA). Abgene became a leader in Europe, specialising in the manufacture of molecular biological reagents, special plastic consumables and instrumentation for life sciences. It also became involved in research, both inhouse and through collaborations with universities and industrial partners, particularly in gene and DNA technology.
Dr Notaras never forgot his Australian citizenship and was grateful to the Australian people for his university education. As a form of appreciation, he funded a million dollar scholarship in perpetuity in colorectal surgery. The Fellowship is both a generous gift to further expertise in this medical area within Australia, and a benefit to the community at large. It provides an opportunity for aspiring young Australian surgeons to spend three years involved in colorectal clinical work at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, colorectal research, and a period of one year abroad at a centre of excellence.
When he retired Dr Notaras restored his grandfather’s house on the island of Kythera, Greece. He also became involved with the Kytherian community, including the purchase of equipment needed by the local hospital.
Dr Notaras regularly travelled to Australia including Grafton where he, along with his brothers Angelo and John, and cousin Spiro, restored the heritage listed Saraton theatre as he “wanted the Clarence Valley to have the best”. The theatre was originally built by his father and uncle in 1926.
Dr Notaras was a prodigious reader throughout his life, and in his retirement, and a man of great knowledge. He was much loved by all of those whose lives he touched. His vitality, kindness, lively intelligence and friendships with so many, will be missed.
Dr Notaras is survived by his three daughters Fiona, Nicola and Lorna by his late first wife Dr Lorna McPhail, his wife Bente Fasmer Notaras and their two sons Anthony and James, his six grand children, and his siblings, Angelo, Irene, John and Betty.
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