Intended for healthcare professionals


Edward Sumner: paediatric anaesthetist who developed intensive care at Great Ormond Street Hospital

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 10 June 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1484
  1. Joanna Lyall
  1. London, UK
  1. joannalyall50{at}

Ted Sumner, who has died aged 80, attributed his successful career to a fall from the top of a climbing rope in childhood. Having broken both legs he had to repeat a year at school and discovered the joy of studying. “I became academic,” he later recalled.

Appointed as consultant paediatric anaesthetist at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in 1973 he found postoperative care “19th century.” Ventilated patients were spread throughout the hospital with huge, primitive ventilators being wheeled to wards as needed. Fourteen years after his arrival at the hospital he wrote that paediatric intensive care—for the needs of children from 4 weeks to 16 years—was still in its infancy in the UK. “Newborns and adults are well catered for, but at least one third of paediatric admissions to intensive care in Britain are still into adult, …

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