Bill Inman

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 15 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1477

Inventor of the yellow card system and the first Cambridge medical graduate

Bill Inman's research and innovations gave us the yellow card and green form systems for identifying hitherto unknown adverse effects of newly marketed drugs. He collected the evidence that led to low-oestrogen oral contraceptives. And he wrestled continuing medical education from the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. Inman was also the first person to graduate in medicine from Cambridge, which had no clinical medical school in 1950, when he was paralysed with polio while doing his pre-clinical studies.

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Inman contracted polio when he was 21, at the end of his pre-clinical course in Cambridge. He had to be away from his studies for two years, some of it spent in an iron lung. Once a rugby player and runner, he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Sir Lionel Whitby, haematologist and Cambridge's regius professor of physic, who had ambitions to establish a clinical medical school in Cambridge, arranged for Inman to have his clinical tuition …

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