Obituaries

John Anthony Henry

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39259.615382.BE (Published 05 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:50
  1. Caroline Richmond

    Toxicologist who strove for patients and the public understanding of science

    With his modest manner, John Henry was an internationally renowned expert with a particular interest in rare poisons and the harm caused by street drugs. He was a founder of the poisons unit at Guy's Hospital. He was an expert at the inquest of Leah Betts, who died of water intoxication after taking an ecstasy tablet and drinking seven litres of water at her 18th birthday party. He recognised that the Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko's acne was caused by dioxin poisoning, and he advised the doctors treating Alexander Litvinenko, who died of polonium-210 poisoning.

    John was, said Fiona Fox of the Science Media Centre, much loved by the many journalists he had helped over the years. He never failed to return the centre's calls, no matter what time of day or night or how controversial the story. The only time he lay low was after he diagnosed Yushchenko's acne and the centre was besieged with calls from Ukrainian “journalists” asking where he lived.

    With Glyn Volans he authored the BMJ's ABC of Poisoning (1985), and he edited the BMA's Guide to Medicines and Drugs, now in its 6th edition. He wrote the chapter on air quality in Panic Nation …

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