Lives of the fellows

Emmanuel Andrew Danino

b.12 February 1911 d.22 August 1998
CBE(1977) MRCS LRCP(1934) MB BS Lond(1934) MD(1937) MRCP(1937) DA(1938) FRCP(1968)

Emmanuel Andrew Danino was a consultant physician at Morriston Hospital, Swansea. He was born at Gibraltar, where he had his early education. In 1928 he started his medical training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, qualifying in 1934. He was appointed to posts as house physician and obstetric house surgeon at St Bartholomew’s, where he was also junior non-resident anaesthetist. He went on to receive his MD and passed his MRCP in 1937, at which time he was appointed as a house physician at the London Chest Hospital.

In 1938 he obtained the diploma in anaesthetics and became resident medical officer at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary. At the outbreak of the Second World War he became medical officer in charge at the Whitchurch emergency medical services, again in Cardiff, and in 1942 was invited to fill a similar position at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. He volunteered for military service at the outbreak of the war, but was deferred until December 1943, when he joined the RAMC. He served in India and Malaya, and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, commanding a large military hospital.

In 1947 he returned to Morriston Hospital, where, at the inception of the National Health Service, he was appointed consultant physician. At that time Morriston Hospital was a hastily-built emergency hospital of some 400 beds, with 120 or more of them acute medical beds, for which ‘Dan’, as he was universally known, had sole consultant charge. The hospital provided services for a large part of North and East Swansea and for the whole of the Swansea and Amman Valleys. It had a very busy casualty department and large general surgery, orthopaedic surgery and obstetric and gynaecology departments, for all of which Dan provided consultant medical cover. When the sub-regional neurosurgical service was set up very shortly afterwards, he gave medical and neurological cover to that as well, continuing until the appointment of a consultant neurologist in 1966.

It was only by living in a house in the grounds of the hospital that he was able to cope with this enormous work-load. He nevertheless succeeded in establishing a large clinical cardiology department and he personally provided a bronchoscopy and endoscopy service. In addition to everything else, he and his colleague, Cyril Evans, were responsible for setting up a flourishing cardiothoracic surgery department, one of only two in Wales at that time.

Dan’s brilliance as a physician was renowned. It was based on his deep knowledge of all branches of medicine, his extraordinary powers of observation, his meticulous and painstaking clinical skills, combined with a truly prodigious memory. He was a superb and sympathetic teacher of both medical students and junior doctors, including those at senior registrar level. He always accepted his full share of administrative burdens.

Dan was also famous for his volatile Mediterranean temperament. Woe betide anyone who fell short of his standards of patient care! But such episodes were always short-lived, never malicious and left no trace of bitterness. Indeed he was greatly loved and admired by all who worked with him and for him.

He had little time for hobbies, though he had been a keen tennis player in his younger days. He devoted his limited spare time to his wife Pamela and his three sons.

Dan continued to work single-handedly until the appointment of a second consultant physician to share his work-load in 1967. However, at the same time he became a consultant physician to the new Singleton Hospital in Swansea, so his work-load barely changed. He was elected FRCP in 1968. He retired in 1976 and in 1977 was most deservedly appointed CBE for his services to medicine.

After retirement he served for three years as an Independent on the Swansea City Council. He was also for many years a medical adviser to the Ministry of Transport at what was then called the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Centre at Morriston.

In due course Morriston Hospital was rebuilt to modern standards, eventually incorporating a new sub-regional cardiology centre. To the delight of all, Dan was able to attend the opening in that department of a ward named after him, which will be a lasting reminder of the debt owed him by the whole community.

Although he retained his brilliant intellectual gifts to the end, his final years were clouded with advancing Parkinsonism, which he bore with great courage, dignity and good humour, but which finally brought about his death.

Denis Daley

[Brit.med.J.,1999,318,197]

(Volume XI, page 142)

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