John Batten

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 27 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g92
  1. Margaret Hodson, emeritus professor of respiratory medicine, senior research investigator at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London
  1. m.hodson{at}

Physician who made a great contribution to the care of adults with cystic fibrosis

John Batten was a registrar at St George’s Hospital and a research fellow at New York’s Cornell University, where he studied tuberculosis among the Indian population. He was appointed physician at St George’s and the Brompton Hospital in 1958. His great contribution to medicine was to develop care for adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

In the 1930s some 70% of patients born with CF died in their first year of life.1 In the 1960s Archie Norman and colleagues from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children told Batten that more children with CF were surviving into adolescence and beyond, and they had a problem as these patients were outgrowing the beds at the hospital. They asked him to help them. Batten told them that he knew nothing about CF but would like to learn. Margaret Mearns, then a consultant paediatrician at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in Hackney, with a special interest in CF care, came over to the Brompton …

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