Lives of the fellows

David Bernard Evans

b.4 January 1932 d.7 February 1997
MB BCh Wales(1957) MRCP(1963) MA Cantab(1977) FRCP(1976)

David Evans was a consultant physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. He was brought up in the Welsh speaking village of New Quay and he retained a strong and continued affection for both the village and the language at which he was fluent. From a long line of seafarers (his father was a master mariner), he initially planned a career at sea, but as soon as his academic ability was noted early in his school life a university career was the obvious future. He showed an early scientific interest and began studying chemistry in Manchester. Soon into the course it became obvious to him that this was not where his future lay and he moved after one year to Cardiff to study medicine.

After graduating in 1957 he spent three years in the Army, serving in Germany and in Malaya. He returned to Cardiff as a SHO, where he met Janet, and moved from there to the Bristol Royal Infirmary. His interest in renal medicine was finally confirmed when he was appointed as a registrar to the renal unit at Charing Cross, built by Hugh de Wardener, and at that time one of the foremost departments in the country. After a visit to Seattle to study maintenance haemodialysis he was responsible for introducing the technique at the Charing Cross Hospital and was one of the pioneers in this country to do so.

David came to Cambridge in 1966 to join Sir Roy Calne and to build and run medical nephrology in close collaboration with the growing transplant unit already of international standing. With David’s arrival and input East Anglia discovered nephrology. The growth and success of the department is now a matter of record and it is no small measure of his ability as a guide and mentor that East Anglia now boasts four renal units of which those in Norwich, Ipswich and Cambridge are most successfully run by his ex-trainees.

Although always a great supporter of academe, and with over two hundred publications to his name, his everlasting professional commitment was to clinical medicine. Everyone who met him received his full and selfless concentration which underpinned his almost unique ability to transmit a sense of both care and reassurance. This was combined with clinical practice of the very first rank, ensured by his fine intellect, outstanding memory and extensive knowledge and experience. He remained throughout modest and totally unaware of conceit, rising to the very heights of his profession without pushing anyone aside.

He had many interests. A keen follower of rugby, he was also an active narrow boat fan and spent many happy hours with Janet on the river. He took up the cello late in his career but majored in the keyboard. He was an accomplished organist and most recently the organist at St Andrew’s in Girton. Above all was his absolute devotion and love for Janet and their three sons and daughter.

David and I shared a firm for nigh on 25 years and to me he remained a wonderful colleague and a true and unchanging friend. He will be remembered as a tall, large-framed, handsome man, in earlier times puffing on a much loved pipe, smiling whimsically and with that deep lilting and beguiling Welsh voice.

David Rubenstein

[Brit.med.J., 1997,314,1626]

(Volume X, page 133)

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