William Asscher

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 20 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5855
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Former dean of St George’s medical school and expert on urinary tract infections

When William Asscher arrived in Cardiff in the mid-1960s after training and house jobs in London, renal medicine was still in its infancy, with just one kidney dialysis machine serving the whole of Wales. Asscher worked first as a general physician but soon developed an interest in this new specialty. A group of businessmen had raised money to buy a dialysis machine but were instructed by the professor of medicine at Cardiff Royal Infirmary that their money would be better directed towards research. This led to the creation of the Kidney Research Unit Foundation for Wales (KRUF).

Asscher was asked to lead the foundation, and here he developed his research interests—primarily the prevention of renal failure through the identification of people with undetected urinary tract infections (UTIs). He published some 200 papers on UTIs, as well as authoring textbooks, and he became a world expert on the subject.

Asscher had carried out a randomised control trial of a cohort of schoolgirls with asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB). With Kate Verrier Jones, a young clinician, he then carried out a series of studies to follow up this …

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