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Derek Browne

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 16 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n407
  1. Janine Kennedy

The son of missionary parents, Derek Browne was born in Yakusu in the former Belgian Congo at the height of the second world war. At the time, there were no facilities for educating children of missionaries, so he returned to England at the age of 3 to attend boarding school. His schooling days were not the happiest, and initially he was bottom of the class in all subjects. He struggled with dyslexia, but with the encouragement and guidance of one particular teacher, Mr Campion, he overcame this to excel in all subjects.

His father, Stanley Browne, was a world authority on leprosy, and it was while watching his parents working in Africa that Derek realised that his life’s work would also be in medicine. He changed his career path from engineering, was accepted into medical school, and qualified from Barts at age 25. He was awarded eight major medical school prizes.

Three years later, in 1970, he married Esther, a nurse. They spent their honeymoon hitchhiking around Kenya. After a short spell working in England …

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