Deja vu for doctor who says hello and goodbye

Dr Jo Sowden retires from Spire Yale hospital after 20 years service, pictured with his colleagues who presented him with a cake Tracy Doughty, Olwen Hope, Yvonne Bucur and Michelle Jones


It was a case of deja vu for a consultant dermatologist on his last day at work before taking early retirement.

The last patient seen by Mr Jonathan Sowden at the Spire Yale Hospital in Wrexham turned out to be the first he treated there more than 20 years ago.

Mr Jack Ferber, 81, a former leather goods retailer, suffers from a rare condition known as pemphigus which can cause painful skin blisters.

Mr Sowden has hung up his hospital whites for the last time and is taking the plunge into early retirement so he can fulfil his passion for scuba diving and travel.

He was thrilled that one of his last patients at his clinic Spire Yale was also one of the first he treated at the Wrexham hospital more than 20 years ago.

Jack and his wife, Angela, 69, of Borras Park, Wrexham say they are devastated Jo, as they know him, has decided to retire as he has become more than their doctor and more of a family friend.

Angela has also suffered from a skin condition that has required regular treatment and medication over a long period of time.

Spire Yale Hospital staff showered Mr Sowden with retirement gifts and presented him with a chocolate cake which he shared with them as well as Jack and Angela.

The medic says he is going to miss Spire Yale Hospital and his patients however he wants to travel and scuba dive while he is still young enough.

He said: “I have a daughter, Eleanor, 22, in Australia and a daughter Lydia, 18, who is studying biology in London. I’m single now and want to see a bit of the world especially the bits I can dive in!

“I love marine wildlife, seeing fish and sharks and want to take a break while I still can. I’m heading out to Indonesia to start with and eventually I’m going to meet up with Eleanor in Australia.”

He added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Spire Yale. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the staff and patients are delightful. It’s been a fabulous hospital to work in.”

“It’s amazing that one of my first patients more than 20 years ago were Jack and Angela Ferber and they ended up being in clinic on my last day.

“It is true that we have become family friends in a way. We always have a chat after going through their clinical needs. They are lovely people. In a way it’s sad to be leaving dermatology early but I have things I really want to do.”

Jack Ferber says having been a patient of Mr Snowden’s for more than 20 years he is going to miss his consultant.

He said: “Without his advice and care I don’t know where I’d be. I’m really sorry to lose him.

“My pemphigus was proving very difficult to treat but Mr Snowden persisted and worked at it until he got it under control and whenever I needed help he was always there for me.

“I remember on one occasion Mr Snowden was away and I saw another doctor when a skin condition connected to the pemphigus flared up.

“The doctor I saw contacted Mr Snowden who was in Egypt for advice and he telephoned back and gave his opinion. Basically it was sorted very quickly. That’s the mark of the man; nothing has ever been too much trouble.

“When I have been away myself he gave me his phone number so I could contact him at any time.”

Angela added: “He has always been so approachable and friendly and we are going to miss him. He looked after our daughter’s dermatology problems when she had cancer.

“I would defy anyone to say anything bad about him to be honest. He really has become a family friend and we always have a chat about what his daughters are up to and his scuba diving when we visit his clinic.”

She added: “We are of course remaining as patients of Spire Yale and will become patients of Dr Balasubramaniam on the recommendation of Mr Snowden.”