Obituaries

Mervyn Frederick ReedEverell Mary ShippamCharles Stuart-HarrisJohn Doris O'Dwyer LavertineJoseph Henry McDougallHubert John MarkhamJoseph Vincent OccleshawAidan Michael PrestageWilfred John (“Jack”) Turney

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7084.906 (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:906

Mervyn Frederick Reed


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Coming from humble beginnings (he was the son of a stonemason), Mervyn Reed excelled in languages at the grammar school in Weston super Mare and won a place to read modern languages at Oxford. This plan was thwarted when he was called up to fight in the Kings African Rifles in Kenya during the Mau Mau [nationalist] rising. This experience greatly changed his thinking and he went on to medical school and a career in obstetrics and gynaecology. As a consultant not only did he excel with his formidable skill and dexterity (no doubt inherited from his father), but also in the reassuring and authoritative manner with which he treated his patients and his insistence that the women of Coventry should benefit from the many recent advances. He pioneered obstetric ultrasound in the Midlands, also introducing colposcopy with laser ablation, continued with fetal anomaly scanning and other early diagnostic techniques, and insisted on introducing serum Embedded Image fetoprotein measurements while others were still debating the issue. He also found time to help ordinary folk, serving as chairman of both the Brook Advisory Service and Baby Lifeline. Nevertheless, there was much more to Mervyn Reed than medicine. With a fascinating moustache and a series of waistcoats and flamboyant dickie bows, his enthusiasm for extracurricular activities was extensive. As a lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army he served with the Liverpool Field Ambulance 307. He was an accomplished sailor and loved good food and wine, even planting his own vineyard in Coventry, though the climate was against his achieving any significant vintages. He watched birds, followed opera avidly, and loved listening and occasionally dancing to jazz. The send off he received at his retirement from the people he had been involved with in Coventry was spectacular, but unfortunately his retirement was not to last …

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