Keith Deans BuchananBMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7486.312-a (Published 03 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:312
Keith Deans Buchanan
Former professor of metabolic medicine Queen’s University, Belfast, and consultant physician Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast (b Glasgow June 1934; q Glasgow 1958; PhD, MD, FRCP Glas, FRCP Ed, FRCP, FRCPI), d 22 July 2004.
Keith Buchanan became a member of the three Royal Colleges (Edinburgh 1961, Glasgow 1962, and London 1964) and was a registrar and then senior registrar in medicine, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, up to 1968. From September 1966 he was given a leave of absence for 18 months to study in the division of endocrinology and metabolism, University of Washington. He was appointed a senior lecturer/consultant physician, then a professor of metabolic medicine (personal chair) at the department of medicine, Queen’s University of Belfast, in 1968 and 1976. Although Professor Buchanan retired in 1999, he continued to participate in ongoing research into the treatment of patients with neuroendocrine tumours
Academic achievements: Professor Buchanan’s interest in clinical endocrinology started from the early registrar years and was further enhanced by his period in the US, developing the basic science skills, to establish himself over the subsequent few years as one of the pioneers of the field of neuroendocrinology. He has more than 500 publications in the field from his group, which also provided a regional and national diagnostic service for patients with neuroendocrine tumours. During his career he was invited speaker for many named lectureships and invited panellist in many national and international symposia.
Interests outside medicine: As with his academic career, Keith excelled in all his chosen interests outside work. At Glasgow University he was in the university blue rugby team. He also held a scratch handicap in golf and at one stage contemplated a professional golfing career. To the great benefit of science and patients, he chose to remain in medicine. For many years Keith was an enthusiastic swimming coach and mentor. He trained a number of swimmers who competed at Commonwealth and Olympic games. He committed many hours of his personal time to swimming organisations. He was president of the Ulster branch of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association. He also brought science to the swimming pool and published a number of sport-related papers.
Keith was a prolific poet. All aspects of his life have been portrayed in his unique style of poetry, many relating to swimming. It is hoped that these will be published soon.
Personal attributes: Keith was a marvellous man, as a professor, a clinician, and—perhaps most importantly—as a friend.
He deeply empathised with his patients and their families, genuinely sharing their delight when responding to treatment as well as suffering when they deteriorated.
Those of us who worked for and with him and the many students who encountered him benefited greatly from his encouragement, approachability, and enthusiasm for research, as well as his great sense of humour. Despite his very busy schedule, if you needed him, you were guaranteed to find a listening ear and a helping hand with a nice smile to cheer you up. Attending meetings, he was one of those few "elite" professors who willingly declined more "upmarket" offers, choosing to be with his students. He missed good students when they moved on from his lab and remained genuinely interested in their careers. As a result, many students remained in contact with him and were very sad to learn of his death.
His legacies are the numerous publications, the transferred knowledge, and the following generations of clinicians and scientists who continue in the field of research that he began. But most treasured are the personal memories of a man who deeply touched our lives.
He was married, with four children. [Fahmy Hanna, Lee Armstrong, Rodat Cunningham]
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