Lives of the fellows

David Wallace Hide

b.5 October 1937 d.28 March 1996
MB ChB Bristol(1961) DTM&H(1962) DCH(1964) MRCP Edin(1968) FRCP Edin(1983) FRCP(1984) MD(1994)

David Wallace Hide was a consultant in clinical allergy, director of the asthma and allergy research centre, St Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight, and an honorary senior lecturer in child health at the University of Southampton. He died of a heart attack at the age of 58. A few hours previously he had given a talk on aspects of his work on peanut allergy. This work was subsequently published in the British Medical Journal.

He was born and brought up in Portsmouth. He qualified in Bristol in 1961 and a year later undertook his first paediatric residency at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. His subsequent paediatric career, apart from three years as a lecturer in Oxford, was entirely conducted in what is now the South and West Region.

In 1971 he was appointed to an exceptionally busy consultant post at the Swindon and Cirencester hospitals. He later moved to the Isle of Wight where the challenges were no less demanding though the burden of hands-on consultant care may have been somewhat less.

At that time the Isle of Wight had recently been the site of Rutter’s seminal studies on child development and from the time of his arrival on the island (and probably even long before that) David Hide saw the value of a stable and circumscribed child population as a basis on which he might develop his interest in the early origins and development of childhood asthma and other food and environmental allergies. His subsequent achievements in this field were extraordinary. While maintaining a varied busy general paediatric practice, and without the availability of major institutional or academic support, he was responsible for a series of publications in major journals on topics such as milk intolerance, the influence of breast feeding, peanut allergy and allergen avoidance.

Stemming from this work David was awarded the Medicine-Gilliland fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians which enabled him in 1981 to visit the University of Washington, Seattle, as a fellow in paediatric allergy. A further award from the College and the British Nutrition Foundation provided him with a research fellowship to work in Sweden and Denmark.

The appointment of J O Warner to the chair of child health in Southampton was a further stimulus to David’s work; their research interests overlapped and David benefited from the link with an active and well funded research unit. But he was no passive partner. With his tireless energy he had already raised sufficient sums to establish a small research team of his own and to plan the building of the Isle of Wight Asthma and Allergy Research Centre. Sadly, he died three months before the building was officially opened. These developments brought a change in his clinical role and in 1991, relinquishing his status as a general paediatrician, he became a part time consultant in clinical allergy and director of the research unit he had established. He was also appointed to an honorary senior lectureship in child health by the University of Southampton.

In 1984 his international standing provided him with an opportunity to visit China when that country began to reopen its doors to visitors. David was profoundly impressed by the country and its people and he led or took part in several other medical visits to the country.

David was one of those high achievers who support their profession in numerous different ways. He was for many years the president of the local Postgraduate Medical Federation, a long-serving member of the old District Medical Committee and was recently a non-executive director of the local NHS Trust.

In the summer he became an ardent cricket enthusiast. He was playing actively, absolutely delighted to be raising his batting average, in the summer before his death.

A modest man, with a gentle but pervasive sense of humour, David seemed a little surprised by the international recognition he had received and richly deserved. His enthusiasm, clarity of vision and the scientific rigour which he applied to his studies achieved more than many who have greater academic facilities available.

He was married to Bunty, also a doctor, working in community child health. They had a daughter and two sons.

I C S Normand

[Brit.med.J., 1996,313,359]

(Volume X, page 215)

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