Graham Stapleton qualified M.B.Ch.B. at the University of Cape Town in 1978 and obtained the F.C.S. (SA) in general surgery in 1989 after training at Groote Schuur Hospital. He obtained a M.Med degree for research into gastric mucus in a porcine peptic ulcer model, was a research fellow in the UCT/MRC Liver Centre for 1990, and was registered for a Ch.M., publishing on the blood supply of the intrahepatic bile ducts and on hepatic blood flow in pigs after reduced liver transplants
Dr Stapleton then worked as a Junior Consultant at Groote Schuur Hospital from 1991 to 1993, for Professor Dent (surgical oncology and surgical endocrinology) in 1991, for Professors Terblanche, Bornman, and Krige (hepato-pancreato-biliary and upper GI surgery) in 1992, and Professor Immelman (vascular surgery) in 1993.
From 1993 to 1994 he worked as Overseas Senior Registrar at the Royal Victoria and Belfast City Hospitals (Queens University) in Belfast, Northern Ireland and from 1994 to 1995 as Overseas Senior Registrar at the Hammersmith Hospital (Royal Postgraduate Medical School), gaining further specialised training in hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery, surgical oncology, surgical endocrinology, upper GI surgery, and laparoscopic surgery.
Dr Stapleton joined the IHPBA in 1994 and the EHPBA in 1995 and has been a member continuously since then. He returned to Cape Town in 1995 and started in private practice at the Clinic Holdings Wynberg Hospital. He was appointed to a part-time consultant post in Professor Bornman’s firm at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1996 and continued in that post until 2006.
In 2000 Dr Stapleton moved his practice to Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont, where he established a practice based on hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery and advanced laparoscopic surgery. He also worked in close association with Dr Michael Elliot, assisting him with complex colorectal and pelvic floor surgery.
In the late 1990s Dr Stapleton set up The Gut Club, a multi-disciplinary group spanning private and public service specialists for monthly continuing medical education meetings in various aspects of gastroenterology. He joined ENETS after attending their meeting in Krakow, Poland in about 2003 and has continued to be a member since then.
In 2005 he set up a multidisciplinary team for treating morbid obesity and started doing laparoscopic metabolic (bariatric) surgery. He subsequently participated in setting up multi-disciplinary teams for managing patients with colorectal and other GIT cancers and then a separate group for treating gastroenterological and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (GEPNETs). The latter also involved pushing for the introduction of DOTA PET scans at Tygerberg Hospital and the establishment of SIRT (hepatic arterial radioembolisation) and peptide receptor radiation therapy (PRRT).
He was a founder member of the HPBASA and served on its executive for several years, culminating in serving as president in 2017-18.
In 2017 Dr Stapleton relocated his practice to the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on the Foreshore of Cape Town and he continues to work there now.