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Robin Touquet: emeritus professor of emergency medicine who strove for greater understanding of alcohol misuse across all medical specialties

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 31 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2130
  1. Joanna Lyall
  1. London, UK
  1. joannalyall50{at}

When Robin Touquet was appointed the first consultant in emergency medicine at St Mary’s Hospital in London in July 1986, he was struck by the number of patients collapsing from alcohol misuse and began to lobby support for more resources. But he was rebuffed by a senior colleague who said, “Robin, be a man, it’s just part of your work.” Touquet retorted that he was both a man and ex-Royal Marines, “and I do not like being patronised.”

Shortly afterwards he set out his vision for the new specialty1 and went about developing the department he would lead for 25 years with military determination, once sending the police to find a junior doctor who had failed to appear at the mandatory 8 am meeting. “This is not a specialty for the fainthearted,” he pointed out.

From its early days when the department was known as “the bear pit,” staffed by just five senior …

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