Lives of the fellows

Ritchie Teify Jenkins

b.8 March 1915 d.10 October 1982
BSc(1937) MB BCh Wales(1940) MRCS LRCP(1942) MRCP(1947) DCH(1947) FRCP(1971)

Ritchie, the son of Daniel and Louisa Jenkins, was born in St Nicholas near Cardiff. He studied at the Welsh National School of Medicine, and served South Wales throughout his professional life. He qualified at the beginning of the war and undertook his initial house appointments at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where he became the RMO. Shortly afterwards he moved to the EMS Hospital at Morriston as a medical registrar, and subsequently consultant paediatrician. For many years he was the sole consultant paediatrician for Swansea and all points west. It was a daunting challenge which brought the best out of Ritchie. He rose to the occasion admirably and was constantly on hand to give advice or consultation, working through the day and frequently the night. Later, several others were able to share the burden and enable Ritchie to develop sub-regional specialties.

The son of a schoolmaster, it is hardly surprising that he gained a wide reputation as a teacher of both undergraduates and postgraduates. He enjoyed this side of his life enormously, and put much energy into conveying the principles of paediatrics and the logical steps required for diagnosis and investigation. Generations of doctors have avoided serious errors in the management of children thanks to Ritchie’s aphorisms.

One of the highlights of the paediatric calendar in South Wales was the annual clinical meeting in Morriston Hospital. Series of children with rare and interesting diseases were presented on a summer’s afternoon by Ritchie and his staff, all beautifully annotated and exhibited. It was an ideal occasion for the aspiring Membership candidate and a rapid up-date for more senior colleagues. The academic feast was followed by a first class meal and then the real business of the day began. This was to reveal another side of Ritchie’s character-his enthusiasm for an excellent performance at cricket. The local Morriston team took on all-comers from Cardiff and elsewhere-and usually won.

It gave Ritchie and his wife Joy considerable satisfaction when, in later years, their only son Huw, himself a budding paediatrician, captained Harrow School at cricket. It is natural that a born paediatrician like Ritchie Jenkins should be a family man. Their beautiful home was always open to others and the family bond of affection quickly extended to everyone. The family hospitality was proverbial.

Ritchie was able in later years to undertake considerable civic responsibilities, including that of becoming a Justice of the Peace with a special interest in the work of the Juvenile Courts.

He was survived by his wife Joy, a most loyal supporter, and herself a community paediatrician, and his son Huw, a paediatrician in training.

OP Gray

[, 1982, 285, 1435; Lancet, 1982, 2, 941]

(Volume VII, page 300)

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