Obituaries

Robert BallantineAndrew Niven Tildersley AikmanColin Munro BissetRobert Russell DicksonJohn Anthony HarringtonFrederic Sinclair JacksonAlan James MathamsRobert (“Sandy”)William Stewart MillerMichael Garrett (“Garry”) O'FlynnGrace Emily Woods

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7226.60 (Published 01 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:60

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Robert Ballantine


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Consultant anaesthetist St Bartholomew's Hospital, 1952-86 (b 1922; q Cambridge/St Bartholomew's 1946; FRCA), d 28 October 1999. Ballantine was a leading anaesthetist for more than three decades and anaesthetised many well known people, including Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, and Tom Jones. He was a keen sportsman at school and while at college considered a career in music, having formed several jazz bands at school and played drums in the college orchestra. At Cambridge he worked with the Footlights review and reformed a jazz band in the 1970s, called the Veterans, and continued to play from time to time. He served with the Home Guard at Cambridge, spending many nights on roof top firewatch duty during the V1 and V2 onslaught on London, and was sent to help with the wounded after D Day, where he was involved with early trials of penicillin. After working at Hillingdon and Harefield Hospitals he was appointed consultant anaesthetist at St Bartholomew's in 1952. He was particularly involved with anaesthesia for thoracic, neurological, and ear, nose, and throat surgery and wrote on these subjects. In 1956 he took a sabbatical as assistant professor at the Johnson Willis Hospital, Richmond, Virginia, but decided not to accept a full time post because his children were in the middle of their education. He taught anaesthetics at the University of London and at St Bartholomew's and received many invitations from outside Britain, including America and India, and he was awarded the Most Distinguished Order of Paduka Seri Laila Jasa of Brunei. With Ian Jackson he wrote the first textbook on neurosurgical anaesthesia, which became the standard text. He worked on the successful separation of Siamese twins in 1959, 1961, and 1964, the first such operations in the world. As the anaesthetist he was …

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