Intended for healthcare professionals

Obituaries

David Richard BromhamRobert de MowbrayJohn Lysaght GriffinCecil Glancy

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7083.833 (Published 15 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:833

David Richard Bromham


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David Bromham wanted to be a marine biologist but his mother persuaded him otherwise. In 1972, weeks after the birth of his first son, he graduated twice, in medicine and PhD, with a thesis on the nervous system of the octopus. After junior posts he became a lecturer in Bristol, retaining his deep voiced London accent. There he coauthored landmark papers on infertility and was recruited to family planning by one of its pioneers, Elizabeth Gregson. Moving to Leeds in 1982, he started the infertility service at St James's Hospital, and made several appearances in the television series Jimmy's, delivering the first set of quads to be born in front of a television camera. In 1991 he became chairman of the National Association of Family Planning Doctors, guiding it through its dissolution and rebirth as a faculty of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, becoming its first chairman and dying in office.

David felt strongly about women's health and their “fifth freedom” from the tyranny of unwanted fertility. He spoke all over the world and appeared frequently in the media giving well informed responses to contraceptive scares. He came under fire many times figuratively–and once literally, when a revolution broke out during a family planning conference in South America. He spoke fluent French and German and less fluent Italian. He coedited the British Journal of Family Planning and books on ethics in reproductive medicine, and published over 200 papers. In 1996, after the diagnosis of his final illness, he produced 12 papers, seven as principal author; 15 abstracts; and a prize winning poster for a conference. His last BMJ editorial appeared four months before his death. His pleasures were science fiction, country and western music, and his family. He leaves a wife, Margaret, a daughter, and two sons (the elder a marine biologist). [James Drife]

David Richard Bromham, senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology Leeds; b Wembley 1945; q UCH 1972; PhD, FRCOG; died of oesophageal cancer on 3 December 1996.

Robert de Mowbray

Robert de Mowbray was an endocrinologist and diabetologist and himself had diabetes. He did house jobs in Oxford, served in the army as a physician, and had the unusual experience of registrarships in five London teaching hospitals (including being the first registrar in endocrinology at Guy's Hospital). His special interest was delayed puberty, about which he wrote his MD thesis, and as a consultant he built up a large diabetic clinic. Medicine was in his blood. His father was a general practitioner and two of his three brothers were doctors. He took immense pains over his NHS patients and from his rooms ran a large private practice, which grew larger after Raymond Greene, brother of the novelist, asked him to take on his patients. His hobbies were music and cricket. With a deep love and understanding of music and musicians, he would travel long distances to hear a performance he admired. He was devoted to opera. He also composed songs, and, with Walter Merrivale as librettist, wrote the music for an opera. Though no great player, he was knowledgeable about cricket and a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club. On the day of a test match he would get to Lords as soon as the ground was open to reserve a seat behind the bowler's arm and then go off for breakfast. Predeceased by his first wife, Joanna, he leaves a second wife, Violette, and a son. [RE Irvine]

Robert Ralph de Mowbray, former consultant physician Newham hospital; b 1920; q Oxford 1944; DM, FRCP; died of multiple strokes on 29 November 1996.

John Lysaght Griffin


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John Griffin was part way through his training at Bristol General Hospital (then a separate rival medical school to the Bristol Royal Infirmary) when his father, a Bristol family doctor, died. The wider family contributed towards fees to complete his qualification. He started practice in the slums of Bristol, only to contract tuberculosis and was one of the young doctors and nurses with the disease sent by the travel magnate and philanthropist Sir Arnold Lunn for treatment in Switzerland. On his return he bought a rural practice at Hemyock, Devon, for £100, travelling there in 1926 on a Douglas motorcycle–which he soon replaced with a bull nosed Morris. Without postgraduate training, and with hostile neighbouring practitioners, he was on his own. One of his first deliveries was of a 12lb first baby. He became very popular, steadily building up a large practice. He developed a special interest in anaesthetics and his family remembers how after a long day's work he would pore over Aids to Anaesthesia, underlining key phrases in red. He passed the DA, was later given the FFARCS, and at the inception of the National Health Service left general practice and became a consultant anaesthetist to the Taunton group of hospitals. He invented a direct endotracheal suction catheter based on Bowden cable and with a cunning curve. Predeceased by his wife, Stella, he leaves two sons (one a doctor) and a daughter. [John Griffin]

John Lysaght Griffin, former consultant anaesthetist Taunton; b 1902; q Bristol; DA, FFARCS; died of lobar pneumonia on 29 December 1996.

Cecil Glancy

General practitioner Salford 1947-80 (b Manchester 1922; q Manchester 1947), died of chronic renal and cardiac failure on 8 January 1997. In 1980, partly because of failing health and partly because of an awakened interest, he went to work as a medical officer at Manchester prison. He was best known for his service to the community. An active member of Whitefield Golf Club, which his father (a philanthropist) had helped to found, he served on various committees and as captain and president. He was a regular attender at the annual championship of Jewish golf clubs (known as the Glancy tournament). Sitting as a magistrate until he went to work in the prison service, he also served the King David Schools in Manchester for four decades, latterly becoming president. He leaves a wife, Anita, and three sons (one a psychiatrist in Canada). [Graham Glancy]

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