Stanley Shaldon

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 25 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1468
  1. Chris Mahony, London
  1. chris.mahony{at}

Pioneering nephrologist who wanted to make dialysis the “insulin” of end stage kidney disease

Stanley Shaldon, who transformed dialysis treatment for chronic renal patients in Britain and had an international impact, seems to have stumbled into the specialty through the machinations of his superiors, and personality flaws he acknowledged after retiring.

His major contributions around home, overnight, and long term haemodialysis in the 1960s were aimed at helping patients with chronic renal failure to care for themselves while leading relatively normal lives. This usually included working during the day. He often spoke of a dream to make dialysis the “insulin of end stage renal disease.”

To make access for self care easier, he developed an arteriovenous fistula and used central venous catheters. To the displeasure, according to Shaldon, of manufacturers, he also cut costs by reusing dialysers.

Stewart Cameron, emeritus professor at King’s College London, told the BMJ, “[Shaldon’s] major contribution was the idea that patients could do dialysis for themselves at a time when most people thought dialysis—even in hospital—was outlandish. At the National Kidney Centre, a typically grandiose title, he made big advances.

“His group was one of three or four in the world—the others were in America—who were promoting self dialysis and long term dialysis at home.”

Later in …

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