James Ronald Harries

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 29 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1467
  1. Anthony D Harries

    James Ronald Harries, or “Jimmy” as he was known to his many friends throughout the world, was one of the leading tropical physicians of his day. He is credited with bringing the technique of “glossopharyngeal frog breathing” to assist patients with bulbar-respiratory paralysis during the polio epidemic in Kenya in the 1950s. In 1956 he was awarded a WHO fellowship to the United States to study respiratory poliomyelitis. While there he learnt and taught himself how to frog breathe, introducing the technique first into the United Kingdom and then into Kenya, where he was living and working as a specialist physician. His most famous patient was Ian Bompas, who contracted bulbar polio and respiratory paralysis at the age of 20. He taught Ian how to frog breathe, allowing this determined young man to spend hours out of the iron lung and develop his immense talents for painting by mouth. Jimmy had the honour of presenting one of Ian’s paintings to the Aga Khan during one of the Aga Khan’s visits to Kenya in the 1960s.

    Jimmy was born into a coal mining fraternity in the town of Porth, South Wales, on 26 June 1919. After school education in the Welsh valleys, Jimmy and his brother Alan were sent …

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