Lives of the fellows

Donald James Harwood Payne

b.26 October 1917 d.2 June 1982
MRCS LRCP(1942) MB BS Lond(1943) Dip Bact(1953) MRCP(1972) FRCPath(1963) FRCP(1979)

Donald Payne was born in London. His father, James Alfred Payne, was an architect and, although his immediate family circle had no medical connections, his great uncle, Sir David Wire, was a Lord Mayor of London from 1854 to 1855, and was one of the founder members of the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square, London.

He was educated at Brentwood School, Queen Mary College London, and the London Hospital, and qualified in 1942 before undertaking house appointments at London Hospital Annexe, Brentwood.

It was at the London Hospital in 1942 that he met and married his wife, Patricia Margaret, a nursing sister and the daughter of Commander Patrick Joseph McKenna RN.

On completion of his house appointment in 1942, he joined the RAMC as a captain, and was posted to North Africa, subsequently taking part in the landing at Sicily and the advance through Italy. In 1944 he was posted home to take part in the Normandy landings and the invasion of Northern Europe. In 1946 he returned to the London Hospital as a registrar in pathology, in particular to the study of microbiology. In 1949 he joined the Public Health Laboratory Service and was appointed as a director of the laboratory at Northallerton and honorary consultant microbiologist to the hospital, where he established his reputation in the control of brucellosis which was prevalent in the area. His work on salmonellosis and brucellosis gained him an international reputation. In 1979 he was invited by the New Zealand government to tour that country and to advise on the protection of veterinary surgeons against brucellosis.

In 1964, he was appointed director to the PHLS Laboratory at Portsmouth, and honorary consultant bacteriologist to the Portsmouth and Isle of Wight Area Pathology Service.

A few years after his appointment the laboratory was designated as Regional Laboratory, not only for identification and control of brucellosis but also for the serological typing of Salmonella, and the control of hospital infection. At the same time he also became a member of the Parliamentary Working Party on the disposal of sewage. In 1972 he obtained his MRCP as a result of his published work, and was elected a fellow in 1979.

His publications were numerous and his department was run competently and successfully. Individual members were always encouraged to do their own research and develop their own ideas, and as such his department established an outstanding reputation both in the public health field and the hospital fraternity.

Donald was never a keen committee man; he preferred to settle any problems after prolonged individual discussion, preferably over a pint of beer.

During the early part of his life he was a keen and gifted yachtsman, and but for the 1939 war would almost certainly have been selected for the Olympic trials of 1940, although he was runner up to the bronze medallist in the Olympic trials for Melbourne in 1953. He was also keenly interested in ocean cruising, and was invited to take part in a number of international ocean races. In view of his navigating skills he was elected a member of the Royal Ocean Club, of which he was justly proud.

The last few years of his life were marred by his wife’s prolonged illness, whilst he himself developed both diabetes and arthritis, which necessitated a bilateral hip replacement. Both disabilities were borne without complaint whilst he continued his medical duties.

His final illness proved to be short and distressing, which he bore with considerable fortitude.

He was survived by his wife Pat, and three daughters; two were associated with medicine before marriage: his second daughter was a hospital administrator, the youngest a nurse.

EM Darmady

[Brit.med.J., 1982, 285, 384; Lancet, 1982, 2, 168-9]

(Volume VII, page 452)

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