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David Innes Williams

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 28 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5182
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Founder of the specialty of paediatric urology

It was the case of a boy with posterior urethral valves that led Sir David Innes Williams to found the specialty of paediatric urology. Innes Williams, known to his colleagues as DI, was resident at St Peter’s—a now defunct hospital in central London that specialised in urology—when the patient was admitted, and he realised that no one had the expertise to manage the condition.

Paediatrics was gaining ground as a specialty at this time. Innes Williams got a job at Great Ormond Street Hospital where he was attached to Sir Thomas Twistington Higgins, a general surgeon who had an interest in genito-urology.

In an interview published in 2011 Innes Williams said that he “got hooked on the idea of doing [paediatric urology] because it seemed to be exciting and nobody else was much doing it . . . and because Great Ormond Street is a remarkable place, and you only had to say you were interested in something and the patients came in.”1

He was appointed consultant paediatric urologist at Great Ormond Street in 1952 …

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