Observations BMJ Confidential

Parveen Kumar: Pet hate is arrogance

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7367 (Published 11 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7367

In this series the BMJ asks the movers and shakers of the medical world about work, life, and less serious matters


Parveen Kumar, a gastroenterologist and professor at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, is blessed by generations of medical students as co-editor and founder (with Michael Clark) of Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine, now in its eighth edition. The book, thrice winner of the BMA book awards, shook the dust off the dry tomes that Kumar had to endure when she qualified in medicine at Barts in the mid-1960s. She has held many posts in medicine and medical education, including chairing the Medicines Commission UK and serving as president of the BMA in 2006 and of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2010-12.

What was your earliest ambition?

As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be a doctor, as the discipline encompassed science and caring for patients. Luckily, I got into medical school.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My mother. She was a remarkable lady. She inculcated in me the principles of hard work, honesty, and “giving.” Anything was possible, even as a woman! Her “giving” and voluntary work lasted to the end of her days. I have this vision of a tiny 80 year old Indian lady in a sari (hitched up over snow boots) delivering meals on wheels to elderly people in a Surrey town. I always wondered what …

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