Ronald Carl Alan Pearson

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 07 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2437
  1. Enid Michael

    Ronald Carl Alan Pearson (“Carl”) encompassed during his medical career a diversity of research, teaching, and clinical experience in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Tanzania.

    He was born and educated in the north of England, where his father was a general practitioner for a small colliery village. The family was very medically biased, and, although initially attracted to law, Carl changed to medicine after A level studies in the humanities, when he found he was being excluded from family conversations about medicine. He passed the 1st MB examination at St Thomas’s Hospital and then went up to Trinity College, Oxford, in October 1971, to read physiological sciences. Early on in his medical studies, he developed a passionate interest in the function of the brain, which was encouraged by his tutor in neuroanatomy, Dr T P S Powell. In his final year, with some temerity, he approached Dr Powell to enquire about the possibility of delaying clinical studies to enrol for a research degree in neuroanatomy and was gratified to be awarded an MRC postgraduate research studentship.

    There followed a rigorous three years’ training in traditional research methods in neuroanatomy, with a series of papers and culminating in the award of the degree of DPhil. On entry into clinical medical studies in Oxford in 1977, he took to clinical work and patient contact with alacrity, enjoying immensely all opportunities to talk to patients. Contemporaries at Oxford will probably remember him best of all, however, immersed in a game of bridge in Osler House, chuckling wickedly over a winning hand, and for his portrayal of Dr Sidney Truelove, the eminent physician, to whom Carl bore an uncanny resemblance, at the medical student Tyngewick pantomime of 1979.

    He loved clinical …

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