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David Todd

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 12 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4222
  1. Penny Warren
  1. London
  1. penny.warren{at}

Haematologist and head of medicine at Hong Kong University

The fate of a newborn placed in an orphanage in Canton (now Guangzhou) unexpectedly changed when he attracted the attention of Paul and Margaret Todd, Presbyterian missionaries from the US. They adopted the Chinese baby in 1929, christened him David, and took him home to live with their other adopted children, Lois and Jonathan.

Paul Todd was a doctor and his wife, Margaret, a nurse. Together they established the Kung Yee Medical College in Guangzhou in 1909, and the Todd Clinic and Hospital in 1931 (now the Second People’s Children Hospital). The family lived in the shadow of the hospital, and from an early age David Todd was inspired to follow his parents into medicine.

In 1937 family life was disrupted when Japan invaded mainland China. Todd was sent to Hong Kong, then a British colony, where he boarded at the Diocesan Boys’ School. During the …

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