For healthcare professionals only


Dennis Walder

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 23 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a3126
  1. Jennifer Watts

    A lifetime spent in search of the cause of the bends

    Dennis Walder will be remembered as a pioneer in the field of decompression sickness—“the bends.” Having qualified from Bristol University in 1940, he joined the Royal Air Force, where his interest in the subject started. In the war, bombers flew at great altitude without the benefit of pressurised cabins, and the crew were susceptible to sub-atmospheric decompression sickness. To try to discover why some men were more susceptible to the problem than others Dennis designed an apparatus to measure the surface tension of blood serum. His work was so important that when he was posted to India, arrangements were made to allow him to continue his research.

    He returned to civilian life in 1946 and secured a surgical training post in the north east of England, where he remained for the rest of his career. In 1948 the …

    View Full Text

    Log in

    Log in through your institution


    * For online subscription