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Ken Matthewson was raised in the North of England, mainly in Northumberland and County Durham. He was lucky enough to get his Consultancy in this same area, one of the most beautiful in England.
In 1979 he graduated from Newcastle University, and trained in gastroenterology at Hull (under John Bennett), Newcastle (Chris Record), UCH (Steve Bown), St James' Balham (Tim Northfield), and Southampton (Ralph Wright), all in England. He returned to Newcastle in 1989.
Dr Matthewson's position as a Consultant Gastroenterologist is held jointly between the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and Hexham General Hospital, a small district general hospital in Northumberland.
Within gastroenterology, his principal interest is in therapeutic endoscopy. This developed when he did his MD thesis on GI uses of ND YAG laser endoscopy at University College Hospital, under Steve Bown, and St James', under Tim Northfield. Other interests that have developed from therapeutic endoscopy include medical imaging and artificial nutrition, having established a PEG service that manages over 200 patients.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- I trained in gastroenterology because it involves practical skills that change patients' lives, and offers a diversity of different conditions to treat, many of which can be cured. (And because it was the only specialty I could get a job in at the time.)
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- The teacher I admire most is Professor Duncan Colin-Jones, who taught me the rudiments of ERCP. He is an excellent teacher of endoscopy, whose illustrations of the control of a side viewing scope whilst outside the body gave me a degree of insight into how it should be used inside.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- The research papers which influenced me the most were Paul Swain's two Lancet papers on the treatment of bleeding peptic ulcers using the Argon Ion laser and the Nd YAG laser. These were the first to show that therapeutic endoscopy for bleeding peptic ulcers could save lives, and led directly on to my MD research project comparing the user of the heater probe and the ND YAG laser.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- The most important fact I have discovered is how large the impact is that Christianity can have on your life.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- The biggest mistake I have made is not printable here.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- My unfulfilled ambition is to trek up the Andes to Machu Picchu, the famous Inca settlement.
- What is your greatest regret?
- My greatest regret is the premature death of my father-in-law, who was war-blinded and never saw his wife and children, yet who I never heard bemoaning his situation, even when dying of bowel cancer.
- How do you relax?
- I relax by walking my Old English sheepdog, Toby, by the River Tyne at Corbridge.
- What is your favorite sport?
- My favorite sport is football. My team is Newcastle, although I only get to see them a few times a season.
- What is your best place in the world?
- My best place in the world is on a peak in the Lake District on a clear sunny day (about three days a year).
- What is your favorite film?
- My favorite film is "Gandhi". I vividly remember the time I first saw it and the impact it had on the viewers. There was absolute silence as they left the cinema.
- What car do you drive?
- I drive a Peugeot 306 turbo diesel, but am restoring a 1979 Triumph Dolomite Sprint. The latter project is long-term (started in 1991), but I hope it will eventually provide the daily transport. When I bought it, it was completely rusted through, but, having taught myself sheet-metal working and oxy-acetylene welding, it is now nearing final painting.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- My best electronic toy is a GPS (global positioning system) device, which I now take with me whenever I go fell walking, ever since I got lost in the mist and had to spend a night at 2500 feet in mid-November, in a howling gale. I can now pinpoint my position and get safely down even with minimal visibility.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- I am reading "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte in electronic format on my palmtop computer at present, although I am finding it a little tedious.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- I got involved in GastroHep.com because it was clear that good supplies of electronic endoscopic images were required, and I have a large collection.