Tag Archives: obituary

Geoffrey Schild obituary

The microbiologist Geoffrey Schild, who has died aged 82, did much to help halt the spread of influenza, polio and Aids. It was he who proposed the concept of a universal flu vaccine, a goal still sought today.

In 1969, two years after joining the World Health Organisation’s influenza centre, based at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, north London, Geoffrey was appointed its director. He wanted to see how the need for a new influenza vaccine each year could be avoided.

The need to renew vaccines arose because the influenza virus contains outside spike proteins that are constantly evolving. Geoffrey concentrated on the virus proteins in the internal core of the virus. He found that these internal proteins were not only shared by all human influenza viruses, but by influenza viruses found in pigs and birds. This pointed to the possibility of a universal influenza vaccine that could be active against new, emerging viruses, including those from animal sources, thus eliminating the need for annual change.

Better still, influenza vaccine could be stockpiled in case of an epidemic. It happens that the first widespread human testing of a universal vaccine has just started, in a trial aiming to involve 500 people aged 65 and over in Berkshire and Oxfordshire this winter.

In 1975 Geoffrey became head of the viral products division at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) in Hampstead, north London. There he focused his efforts, alongside the virologist John Wood, on standardising conventional influenza vaccines to ensure that, when manufactured, they would always contain the same quantity of influenza protein. The WHO quickly identified this as a breakthrough, and by 1978 Geoffrey’s method of standardising vaccines was made obligatory for all new influenza vaccines around the world.

On being appointed the director of NIBSC in 1985, Geoffrey set up a polio research group. At the time, children were being given live polio vaccine. Geoffrey’s team followed what happened when children were given the polio virus to swallow. He realised that live polio virus could occasionally mutate and become virulent again. Though it was rare, it did happen. Thanks to the team’s work, live polio vaccine is no longer in use.

In this period, too, when the Aids crisis first broke, Geoffrey was given the task of directing the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Aids programme in Britain, bringing together medics and scientists from the UK, the US and the rest of the EU to develop vaccines for the prevention of Aids, and drugs for the treatment of HIV infection. Geoffrey’s aim was to get work on Aids moving quickly and efficiently. He divided teams into two arms: the strategic programme, which worked on the nature of Aids and its treatment, as well as monitoring the spread of HIV, and the second arm, which focused on developing drugs and vaccines.

The programme had its detractors: the MRC was criticised for repeating vaccine experiments in monkeys that had already been done in the US, for example. But it also had successes.

The Anglo-French Concorde trial, sponsored by the MRC and a French research agency, was the biggest clinical trial of the drug AZT ever conducted. It showed that the drug could not delay the onset of Aids in HIV-positive people or increase their life expectancy. The results were published in the Lancet and made headlines worldwide. Nonetheless, this negative result stimulated researchers elsewhere to discover three new classes of anti-Aids drugs that have since transformed the clinical management of people with Aids.

The job of directing multinational researchers could be tumultuous. Geoffrey’s technique when faced with a room full of squabbling scientists was to wink, surreptitiously. He had such an open face and such a smiley one; it always worked.

Born in Sheffield, Geoffrey was one of four children of Christopher Schild, a travelling salesman, and his wife, Georgina (nee Kirby). He went to High Storrs grammar school in Sheffield and then Reading University, where he completed a degree in microbiology in 1958.

After graduating, Geoffrey worked for the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson for two years, then decided to do a PhD, at Sheffield University, focusing on the common cold virus.

We met at Lodge Moor hospital, where I was also studying for a PhD, and our supervisor, Sir Charles Stuart-Harris, had set up a research group in virology as part of the university’s medical school. We focused on growing viruses. Sometimes it would all go wrong and Geoffrey would say: “Just chuck it out and start again.” His attitude to everything was “never give up”.

It was also at Lodge Moor that Geoffrey met Tora Madland, a Norwegian pharmacist and British Council scholar. Geoffrey and Tora were married in 1961.His research continued in Sheffield for another six years.

In 1993 Geoffrey was appointed CBE, and nine years later he retired from the NIBSC. Part of his legacy there is the library of carefully grown viruses that he helped set up so that scientists around the world could access the high-quality specimens needed for their research.

He was also author of at least 300 scientific papers. One of the most important, co-authored with the virologist John Skehel, introduced a new system for classifying the thousands of influenza strains isolated in animals and humans. The classification system is still in use by WHO laboratories today.

Geoffrey is survived by Tora, their three children, Oystein, Ingrid and Peter, and two grandchildren.

Geoffrey Christopher Schild, microbiologist, born 28 November 1935; died 3 August 2017

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Ross Lazar obituary

My friend, work colleague and cousin by marriage, Ross Lazar, who has died aged 72 of cancer, was a psychotherapist and organisational consultant who spread British psychoanalytic ideas across Europe. A central part of his career lay in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and its associated observational studies. But in parallel he also developed a second strand working with groups and organisations.

Born to Jack, a businessman, and Pearl (nee Wachs), a legal secretary, in New Jersey, Ross came to Britain in the early 1970s to train at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where the Kleinian school of psychoanalysis – grounded in the observation of infants, children and families – had been established.

In 1978 he moved to Munich, where he played a pivotal role in spreading the Kleinian approach to continental Europe and especially Germany. He set up an adult and child psychotherapy practice in Munich and created the Bion Forum, bringing senior London-based psychoanalysts and psychotherapists to Germany for clinical and observation seminars.

Having attended and then been on the staff of the Leicester Conference, a long-established group relations training programme run by the Tavistock Institute, Lazar’s work with groups and organisations also began to flourish. He was a consultant to charities, small businesses, industrial companies and churches as well as two major German psychoanalytic training organisations, which he brought together in dialogue and collaboration. He also undertook group and organisational work in Austria, Israel, France, Norway, Hungary, Italy and Poland.

Ross is survived by his mother, his wife, Gisela, their children, Sebastian and Katrin, and two grandchildren, Fabian and Ferdinand.

Ross Lazar obituary

My friend, work colleague and cousin by marriage, Ross Lazar, who has died aged 72 of cancer, was a psychotherapist and organisational consultant who spread British psychoanalytic ideas across Europe. A central part of his career lay in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and its associated observational studies. But in parallel he also developed a second strand working with groups and organisations.

Born to Jack, a businessman, and Pearl (nee Wachs), a legal secretary, in New Jersey, Ross came to Britain in the early 1970s to train at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where the Kleinian school of psychoanalysis – grounded in the observation of infants, children and families – had been established.

In 1978 he moved to Munich, where he played a pivotal role in spreading the Kleinian approach to continental Europe and especially Germany. He set up an adult and child psychotherapy practice in Munich and created the Bion Forum, bringing senior London-based psychoanalysts and psychotherapists to Germany for clinical and observation seminars.

Having attended and then been on the staff of the Leicester Conference, a long-established group relations training programme run by the Tavistock Institute, Lazar’s work with groups and organisations also began to flourish. He was a consultant to charities, small businesses, industrial companies and churches as well as two major German psychoanalytic training organisations, which he brought together in dialogue and collaboration. He also undertook group and organisational work in Austria, Israel, France, Norway, Hungary, Italy and Poland.

Ross is survived by his mother, his wife, Gisela, their children, Sebastian and Katrin, and two grandchildren, Fabian and Ferdinand.

Helen Carty obituary

When Helen Carty was appointed in 1975 as a specialist in paediatric radiology at the Royal Liverpool Children’s hospital in Alder Hey, Merseyside, x-rays were just about the only tool available to diagnose many disorders in children. Helen, who has died aged 72, set about changing all that. She became a driving force in developing the full range of imaging technology, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and CT and MRI scanning that is now in use with children, and an important expert witness in cases of child abuse.

Paediatric radiology, as with much of paediatrics, is about adapting what is known in adult practice. Helen had the vision to see how technology could be used and was especially forceful in making the case for such technology to be made as easily available for young patients as for adults. Thanks in part to her efforts, Alder Hey raised money to provide a CT scanner for children, and in 1995 to install one of the first dedicated MRI scanners for children in the UK.

Helen’s long years of work in the field gave her a remarkable ability to come to a quick diagnosis of conditions, as if by magic, something that often amazed her junior colleagues. These could be the earliest signs of diseases such as lymphoma, or the appearance of something extremely rare that no one had thought about, such as a rare genetic disorder. Her experience also allowed her to become a world expert in one particular and sometimes controversial area: the x-ray diagnosis of child abuse.

A radiologist reading a radiograph is reading a story about the history of those bones and soft tissues. It is more than just seeing a picture of a fracture, though this can be subtle and difficult enough. It is about understanding what must have happened for that fracture to have occurred, to look for alternatives and to explain clearly what can be deduced. In court, the paediatric expert witness must make their case against a number of alternative theories, proven to be at the very most highly controversial, or subsequently discredited such as the concept of temporary brittle bone disease. Helen was a forthright, clear and determined defender of the injured child.

Her interpretation of radiographs in non-accidental injury cases led Helen to become a formidable expert witness in many trials, and she was often instrumental in proving that alternative explanations for injuries to children had no substance. She was the highest authority in her field, and was elected an honorary member of the council of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children for her work on non-accidental injury.

Born in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, Helen was one of seven children of Roland Moloney, a seed and grain merchant, and his wife, Honor (nee Frame), who in the 1960s ran a restaurant in Dublin. Following schooling at St Mary’s college, Co Wicklow, where Helen played youth-level tennis for Ireland, she gained a degree in medicine and surgery obstetrics from University College Dublin in 1967. She then went on to study general medicine and radiology, completing her training at St Thomas’ hospital in London.

The Alder Hey organs scandal of the late 1980s and early 90s deeply upset Carty, and she played a key role maintaining morale.


The Alder Hey organs scandal of the late 1980s and early 90s deeply upset Carty, and she played a key role maintaining morale. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

At Alder Hey she became director of radiological services in 1977, a post she held for 27 years, and in 1996 was made professor of paediatric radiology at Liverpool University and Alder Hey. She was adviser in radiology to the UK government’s chief medical officer between 1995 and 1998, served on many committees of the Royal College of Radiologists, and acted as a visiting professor or lecturer at many academic institutions across the world. On her travels it was not unusual for huge faxes to be sent back to Liverpool from far-off places with detailed instructions for her next project.

The Alder Hey organs scandal of the late 1980s and early 90s, in which it was discovered that a pathologist at the hospital had secretly stored the vital organs of dead children, deeply upset Helen, and she played a key role in trying to support staff and maintain morale. In 1992 she had been made Alder Hey’s clinical director of support services, which included radiology, physiotherapy and pathology – an administrative role that was nothing to do with pathology practice.

Outside the UK, Helen also greatly supported and contributed to the development of European radiology, and was president of the European Congress of Radiology in 2004, the year she retired. She also had scores of articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and wrote chapters for various books and edited others, including Imaging Children, a two-volume textbook on paediatric imaging that is found in almost every radiology department in the UK.

Awarded honorary fellowships of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, she was also made a deputy lieutenant of Merseyside in 2005, and high sheriff in 2011. She was fiercely loyal to her adopted city, and was an enthusiastic supporter of Liverpool football club. She was also an excellent cook: she and her husband, Austin Carty, a doctor, whom she married in 1967, were generous and hospitable hosts.

Helen is survived by Austin, their three children, Tim, Jenny, and Sarah, and six grandchildren.
David Horton

Frank Field writes: Two characteristics of Helen Carty’s stand out above others, and are separate from her life’s search to push forward the frontiers of medical knowledge. First, she exulted in her own sense of fun, and in seeing the funny side of the pompous. And second, she had a great gift for hospitality.

Helen knew which food was best and, combined with a supply of the finest wines, was able to provide cultural evenings in which she and her husband, Austin, always excelled. Culture for them was not only the written word, particularly in poetry, but also in the visual arts, and their home was crammed full of modern, largely non-abstract, artworks that reflected a good eye from Helen, or Austin, or both.

Helen Marie-Louise Carty, paediatric radiologist, born 12 May 1944; died 23 April 2017