Obituaries

ObituariesRobert Bransby ZacharyThomas AndersonHarold Kennedy (“Dag”) BeardwoodHelen CochraneJoan CooperHarold HandelKenneth John Hinton MallettFrank William NashHenry Gordon SmylieJames Trower SweetnamGerald Hedley Ellis Woodbine

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7190.1079 (Published 17 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1079

Robert Bransby Zachary


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Former paediatric surgeon Sheffield (b 1913; q Leeds 1940 (first class honours and gold medal, with prizes in both clinical medicine and surgery; FRCS), d 1 February 1999. Initially he completed a degree in pharmacy, and after qualification he trained in orthopaedic surgery at Oxford, being elected a Hunterian professor at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1944 for research into peripheral nerve injuries. In 1947, with a grant from the Nuffield Foundation, he went to Boston to train in paediatric surgery. He was appointed consultant paediatric surgeon at Sheffield, the only consultant not to have trained at Great Ormond Street under (Sir) Denis Browne. In 1953 he was one of a small group who formed the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, the first and still the only international association of its kind, and served as its president in 1962-3. Robert campaigned for a monopoly of neonatal surgery for the paediatric surgeon to accumulate sufficient volume and variety of this work and to maintain the skill of his unit. As chairman of the specialist advisory committee, he emphasised the need for specialist centres to provide training and to carry out essential research and development to promote the specialty. He helped facilitate training for trainees from all over the world, and often helped them financially as well.

It was for spina bifida that Bob Zachary achieved international recognition. Promoting early closure of myelomeningocele and active treatment of the associated hydrocephalus, with continued and aggressive management of the associated problems, he strongly opposed the widespread views current at the time and believed that every child, however handicapped, deserved the best care available. He was a founder member of the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida and the parents' association, acting as its chairman in 1969-71. Many of his numerous publications …

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