Obituaries

Harry Variot Langwill FinlayPeter Reginald FrenchAustin Wyndham JohnsonDimbeswar KalitaDimbeswar Kalita

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7156.479 (Published 15 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:479

Harry Variot Langwill Finlay


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Former consultant paediatrician Hillingdon Hospital (b Edinburgh 1918; q Edinburgh 1940; FRCP, FRCPE), d 7 May 1998. The Finlay family played an important part in the development of British paediatrics, Harry's father being a paediatrician in Edinburgh and elected the representative for Scotland at the inaugural meeting of the British Paediatric Association in 1928. Appointed consultant in 1948, Harry worked singlehanded with few junior staff for the next 20 years and showed by personal example how to provide meticulous and safe care. Whenever a child was having a dangerous procedure, whether a tracheostomy for acute respiratory tract infection or a barium enema for intussusception, Harry was there, supporting the parents and staff day and night. He helped start the pioneering paediatric cardiac unit at Harefield Hospital, and some of the first successful repairs of tracheo-oesophageal fistulae were performed under his guidance. Despite this enormous clinical workload he showed that research and teaching promoted high quality care. His research was on the common problems that intrigue district paediatricians: urinary tract infections, …

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