Frederick Valentine Flynn

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1223 (Published 22 February 2012)
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1223

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  1. David Flynn,
  2. Marta Lapsley,
  3. Anthony Norden

Frederick Valentine Flynn (“Freddie”) made major contributions to our understanding of proteinuria, taught clinical biochemistry to generations of medical students and medical and non-medical postgraduates, and developed one of the first programmes for continuing medical education (CME) in the UK. However, it is for his work on the development of laboratory information systems that he is best known.

Freddie was the elder of two sons of Frederick Walter Flynn and Jane Laing Flynn (née Valentine). His parents sacrificed much throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s, and this made a lasting impression on him. As a result he always had a strong work ethic.

After attending St Andrew’s School in Oakleigh Park and Northern Polytechnic in 1941-2, he received his medical education at University College London (UCL) and UCL School of Medicine where he was awarded the Erichsen prize for practical surgery. After house appointments at University College Hospital he was research assistant and registrar in UCH’s department of clinical pathology from 1947 to 1960. His first paper, coauthored in 1949 with Professor Montague Maizels (later FRS), was devoted to basic studies of cation flux in human erythrocytes. He was awarded his MD 1951 and a British postgraduate medical federation travelling fellowship in 1954-55, during which he studied practice, education, and research in chemical pathology in Canada and the US and spent time at the Pepper Laboratory of Clinical Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1955, Freddie married Catherine Ann Warrick, MD, whom he met at UCH, where she was then working as a research assistant.

In 1958 with Elizabeth Butler, Freddie co-authored one of the first descriptions of “tubular” (low molecular weight) proteinuria. This was followed by several papers that further defined this form of proteinuria. Coworkers at this time included Charles Dent (later FRS), Harry Harris (later …

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