Intended for healthcare professionals

Obituaries

George Andrew Douglas GordonBasil Sydney GrantJohn Alexander Holden HendersonSadrudin Kassam Mohamed JivaniAndrew Edward Bertie MatthewsStanley Septimus PavillardAlastair Ian RossHelen Mary Slack (née Taylor)Tamirisa Venkateswarlu (“Tom Venkat”)James WatsonBenjamin Weinstein

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7110.752 (Published 20 September 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:752

George Andrew Douglas Gordon


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Former consultant radiologist Willesden General and Moorfields Eye hospitals (b Richmond, Surrey, 1909; q Edinburgh 1931), died of myocardial failure on 23 May 1997. He joined his father in general practice, but enlisted on the day that war broke out and served with the British Expeditionary Force, then in Egypt, Palestine, Malta, and Italy. He soon turned to his major interest, radiology, concentrating on research into techniques for identifying abnormalities in the brain, first with electroencephalography and then ultrasound. He carried out much of the early work on establishing safe levels of ultrasound for the diagnosis and treatment of Ménière's disease, opened the first department of ultrasonic radiology in Britain, and later worked on the use of ultrasound to detect pulmonary embolism. For a medical graduate he was unique in being able to build his own electronic apparatus, building x ray apparatus in Cairo out of bits left behind in Libya by the retreating Italians. The holder of over 20 international patents for medical electronic apparatus, he devoted much of his personal wealth to his research and travelled round the world giving lectures. After retirement he was appointed visiting professor in bioengineering at the City University in London. He leaves a wife, Muriel; a son; and three daughters.

[A G Gordon]

Basil Sydney Grant

General practitioner East Horsley 1946-77 (b 1910; q The London 1934), d 1 July 1997. He entered general practice in Fulham on the death of his father, serving as divisional police surgeon during the blitz. Joining the Royal Air Force in 1940, he spent some time at Bomber Command and then three years in Burma and India. In Horsley he was singlehanded for over 20 years before joining the local health centre, and was active in the local BMA division, of which he became chairman. He was also a keen gardener, winning prizes for his sweet peas and dahlias. Predeceased by a younger son in a road accident, he leaves a wife, Evelyn; a son; and three grandsons.

[T D Grant, K A Spaul]

John Alexander Holden Henderson


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General practitioner Weaverham, Cheshire, 1952-79 (b Co Down 1914; q Belfast 1937), died of congestive heart failure on 16 June 1997. He worked initially at Barrow in Furness, where he discovered a love of walking and of the Lake District, and joined the army at the outbreak of war. Sent to west Africa as medical officer, he was brought back to Southampton, where he dealt with the casualties from Dunkirk, and subsequently served in India. In 1959 his practice moved into the first purpose built surgery in Cheshire, and he was responsible for slowly building it up in the 1960s and 1970s. Jack was a founder member of a support group for the local hospice and enjoyed walking, gardening, and golf. He leaves a wife, Molly; two sons and a daughter; and grandchildren.

[Paul D Oldfield]

Sadrudin Kassam Mohamed Jivani

Former consultant paediatrician Blackburn, Hyndburn, and Ribble Valley Health Authority (b Mengo, Uganda, 1934; q Birmingham 1962; FRCP, DCH), died of myelodysplasia on 13 July 1997. His education was paid for by his eldest brother and older sister (the first woman from his Ismaeli community to become a doctor). With his warm and outgoing personality he became president of the students' union in his fourth year, and after qualification quickly passed his higher diplomas. Nevertheless, it was only after years in Africa and Canada that he was offered a consultant post in Britain, in 1975. Sadru transformed the Blackburn paediatric service—in particular the neonatal and endocrine services—into one of the strongest in Britain. He was one of the very few district general hospital paediatricians to be appointed to the academic board of the British Paediatric Association and was a past president of the Manchester Paediatric Club. He worked closely with the Manchester Children's Hospital, often taking their admissions' “overflow,” and made Blackburn, along with the Manchester teaching hospital, the prime place for paediatric training. Unfortunately, Sadru was saddled all his adult life with ill health, largely owing to neglected rheumatic fever as a child. A heart valve replacement helped for a while, but later he had a myocardial infarction, leaving him with ischaemia. This did not prevent him from playing golf with great enthusiasm and using methods compiled from various books of instruction, not all of which were compatible. In 1955 he was found to have myelodysplasia, but, despite worsening health and the need for ever more frequent blood transfusions, in his last 18 months he was able to visit Uganda for the first time in 20 years and see his ancestral home off the coast of Kenya. He leaves a wife, Janet, and three children.

[Tom Smith]

Andrew Edward Bertie Matthews


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Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist West Middlesex University Hospital 1963-82 (b Berkhamstead 1924; q St Mary's 1947; FRCOG), d 10 February 1997. After qualification he entered general practice in the Cotswolds, where his domiciliary experience prompted a change to obstetrics and gynaecology. He had a particular interest in endometriosis, infertility, and the psychological and psychosexual aspects of gynaecology, and also undertook pioneering work in intrauterine transfusion of fetuses affected with rhesus isoimmunisation. In the late 1960s a chance meeting with Dame Marea Hartman, secretary of the Women's Amateur Athletic Association, led to the birth of sports medicine in athletics. He and his consultant colleagues provided a unique service and supported teams at various competitions, including the Olympic Games in Munich, Montreal, and Moscow. The domino scheme of midwifery care was his brainchild, copied nationally, and has now evolved into team midwifery, which aspires to offer choice and continuity of care. Although he professed a hatred of committees, he revelled in the battles fought to sustain the quality of his department. He had a particular affection for trainee obstetricians from the Sudan and was delighted to have supported the first of these to be awarded the FRCOG. Andrew was something of a do-it-yourself fanatic and was never happier than when modifying his premises; he had a passion for boats and was expert in acquiring and refurbishing antique furniture. He leaves a wife, Hazel, and two daughters.

[John Fox]

Stanley Septimus Pavillard


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Founder and director of the British American Clinics Las Palmas 1956-89 (b Las Palmas 1913; q Edinburgh 1939; FRCPE; MBE), died of a stroke on 24 July 1997. Just after he qualified he was appointed medical officer to an army unit in Penang, being subsequently transferred to Singapore. In 1942 he was captured by the Japanese and sent with the men working on the Burma-Thailand railway, a project which led to many thousands of deaths from malnutrition and ill treatment. He described his experiences in Bamboo Doctor, a title chosen because he employed bamboo in the apparatus he made to produce saline for treating cholera; even the needles were made of bamboo. He was awarded the MBE in recognition of his work among the prisoners of war. Later, like so many of his fellow prisoners, he developed a degree of blindness from the malnutrition during his prisoner of war days, which became so bad that after the death of his wife five years ago he was admitted to St Dunstan's in Brighton. He managed to dictate a novel, again related to his experiences, and this was published recently. He leaves three daughters.

[Ronald Girdwood]

Alastair Ian Ross


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Medical officer of health Bolton Health Authority 1959-77 (b Inverness 1912; q Edinburgh 1934; MD, FFCM), died of a heart attack on 14 December 1996 (he was suffering from motor neurone disease). At Bolton, where a health centre is named after him, he saw many beneficial changes in the social make up of the area, and the improved health of the community resulting from the Clean Air Act. He was an avid reader and also enjoyed walking and skiing. Predeceased by his wife only four weeks before he died, he leaves three daughters and eight grandchildren.

[S L Hughes]

Helen Mary Slack (née Taylor)

General practitioner Coseley 1963-84 (b Wallasey 1923; q Liverpool 1945), d 9 February 1997. Aged 17 she entered medical school at the beginning of the war to find herself, in the absence of qualified doctors, tending the injured during the German air raids on Liverpool. These experiences had an enduring influence on her subsequent approach to medicine. She joined her husband, Harold, whom she had met at medical school, when the children were older, and after his death in 1980 continued in practice for a few years. She leaves two daughters (one a consultant microbiologist) and six grandchildren.

[Martyn Agass]

Tamirisa Venkateswarlu (“Tom Venkat”)

Consultant psychiatrist Hastings Health Authority 1978-97 (b Andhrapradesh, south India, 1941; q Andrha 1966; DPM, FRCPsych), d 28 March 1997. He worked briefly in India before coming to Britain. After posts in south Wales and at St Bartholomew's and Hackney Hospital Tom was appointed senior registrar at Bethlem and the Maudsley Hospitals. Starting in Hastings with only himself, a secretary, and a caravan, Tom went on to develop one of the best services for the elderly mentally ill in the region. He was as good a teacher as he was a clinician, inspiring his trainees to go on with the specialty, and he was an active member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, serving on several of its committees. He leaves a wife, Joan, and a son.

[Isaac Kunguru Mutiboko]

James Watson


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Former senior medical officer Scottish Home and Health Department (b 1910; q Glasgow 1933; MD, FRCGP), died in his sleep on 21 June 1997. The first half of his medical life was spent in rural general practice, first in Tongue in Sutherland and then in Thornhill in Dumfriesshire, but in 1961 he transferred to the regional medical service. He was an active member of the BMA and was made a fellow in 1962. A man of many interests, in early life he enjoyed rowing, tennis, and badminton, but after the war his interest was in motor sport, which eventually led to membership of the committee of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club. A life long love of sailing gave him greatest pleasure, and he was commodore of the Royal Gourock Yacht Club in 1988-91. In 1996 he published a short autobiography. Predeceased by his first wife, he leaves a second wife, Margaret, and four children from his first marriage (one of whom is a GP).

[S G McAlpine]

Benjamin Weinstein

Former chief medical officer Burroughs Wellcome (b Cairo 1915; q Cairo 1940, Guy's 1957; DCH, MFOM), d 24 April 1997. For many years after qualification Ben Weinstein worked in hospital outpatients and had a modest private practice. In 1954 he moved to Britain because of increasing antisemitism, having to requalify. In 1958 he went as industrial medical officer to the Booker group of companies in British Guiana, publishing an epidemiological survey Diabetes in British Guiana, which won the Davson Centenary Gold Medal. In 1966 he received a Ciba Foundation travelling fellowship, and after several months in Paris published The handicapped child in France: a medicosocial study. He returned to Britain in 1969, becoming senior medical officer at Burroughs Wellcome occupational health service, with responsibility for microbiological, radiological, and chemical health hazards. He leaves a wife and two children (one a cytologist, the other a cardiologist).

[Jean Marc Weinstein]

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