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In Memoriam: Bernard Lytton, MBBS

November 03, 2022

Bernard Lytton, MBBS, professor emeritus of urology, died on October 24. He was 96. He led many firsts within Yale and the state of Connecticut, collaborating closely with his nephrology colleagues.

Lytton, a widely recognized and respected innovator, clinician, and educator, served as chief of urology from 1966 to 1986. Born in London, England, on June 28, 1926, Lytton attended Haberdashers’ Aske's Hampstead School in England and received his medical degree from London Hospital Medical College at the University of London in 1948. Following medical school, he obtained most of his surgical and urology training at the London Hospital, spending some time at the Hackney Hospital, the Johannesburg General Hospital in South Africa, and the Royal Victoria Hospital at McGill University in Montreal. In the midst of his training, he spent approximately two years as a medical officer in the Royal Air Force during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Squadron Leader. He also spent 18 months as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Anatomy at University College.

Following his surgical and urologic training, he was a lecturer and British Empire Cancer Research Fellow in the Department of Surgery at King's College Hospital in London. In March 1962, he emigrated to the United States and was appointed assistant professor of urology at Yale School of Medicine. In 1967, he was promoted to associate professor and named the third section chief of urology at Yale. In 1971, he was promoted to professor of urology and received an honorary master’s degree from Yale University. In 1988, he was appointed the Donald Guthrie Professor of Surgery, a position he held until 2000, when he became Donald Guthrie Professor Emeritus of Surgery.

In the 1960s, in partnership with the Department of Medicine, Section of Nephrology, he opened the first dialysis unit in Connecticut and performed the first renal transplant in Connecticut in 1967. He instituted programs to provide dialysis access, brachytherapy for prostate cancer, percutaneous nephrostolithotomy, continent urinary reservoirs, and bladder substitution. Lytton served on a number of editorial boards, including the Journal of Urology, Investigative Urology, and the Urological Survey. He served as consulting editor of Archives of Surgery, and from 1986–1994 he was editor-in-chief of Advances in Urology. In his early years, he made basic science contributions addressing the etiology of compensatory renal hypertrophy and cancer immunology. He served on the Surgery, Anesthesia and Trauma Study Section of the National Institutes of Health from 1975–1979.

Lytton earned many honors and awards. In 1966 he received the Francis Gilman Blake Award, which is given by Yale School of Medicine’s senior class to the most outstanding teacher of medical sciences. He also received the Hugh Hampton Young Award from the American Urological Association, given to an individual for outstanding contributions to the study of genitourinary tract disorders. He was a member of all of the prestigious academic urologic societies and served as president of the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, the Clinical Society of Genitourinary Surgeons, and the New England Section of the American Urological Association.

A noted educator, Lytton trained multiple leaders of academic urology and beyond. After serving for a short time as acting master of Branford College at Yale, he was appointed by the president of Yale as master of Jonathan Edwards College. He subsequently served as the founding director of the Koerner Center for Emeritus Faculty at Yale.

Lytton was predeceased by his first wife, Heleine (d. 1961), and his second wife, Norma (d. 2007). He is survived by his children, Sharon, Simon, Timothy, and Jennifer; his grandchildren, Elena, Samuel, Medad, Margalit, Asher, and Ruby; and his loving partner of 11 years, Dawn Wood. He is buried in the Portsmouth Jewish Cemetery, near his home in West Wittering, England.

Submitted by Robert Forman on November 03, 2022