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Herbert Kay

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 24 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:965
  1. John Canning

Herbert Kay’s early life story is remarkable, not least for being unknown to most of those with whom he worked, but, when known, for clarifying his humanity, firm ethical practice, and good humour.

Herbert, Bert to his medical colleagues, was born Herbert Koniec in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, and transported to the United Kingdom in June 1939 by Kindertransport; his sister had arrived a little before him. He spoke no English, only German, Czech, and Hungarian, and was eventually placed with an older couple in Kirkmichael, Ayrshire. Despite having no English, he proved a promising student, and in 1942 won a prize on coming top of the class. Later in …

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