Lives of the fellows

Nawal Kishore Prasad Singh

b.2 January 1931 d.7 February 1999
MB BS Bihar(1955) DTM&H(1959) MRCP(1967) FRCP(1992)

Nawal Singh was a consultant geriatrician. He was born in Patna, Bihar State, India, the son of Chandrika Prasad Singh, a landowner. He was educated at Nalanka Collegiate School, before qualifying in medicine from Bihar University and Darbhanga Medical College Hospital. After initial work in India he went to England for his diploma in tropical medicine. He was a medical registrar at Newmarket General Hospital, Withington Hospital, Manchester, and then at Mile End Hospital, in East London. In 1968 he was appointed senior medical registrar at the Central Middlesex Hospital.

In August 1969, and against strong competition from two British graduates, he became the first consultant geriatrician to the Chelsea and Westminster Health Authority. There he single-handedly founded a department of geriatric medicine based at St Mary Abbot’s Hospital, Kensington, and, with Joan Bartlett OBE raised over a quarter of a million pounds for a geriatric day hospital. Between 1972 and 1973 he was visiting professor of medicine to SK Medical College, Bihar, India.

After returning again to England he continued building his department. Splendid reports from two visits of the Hospital Advisory Service led to him being granted two senior registrar training posts - a rare recognition in those days. He subsequently trained many consultants in his speciality.

In 1988 a new academic department assumed responsibility for the clinical services of St Mary Abbot’s, St Stephen’s (where by this time Nawal was also working with another consultant colleague), Charing Cross and Westminster Hospitals. As a result of his teaching ability he was elected honorary senior lecturer in medicine at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School.

He was proud of his association with the academic department of medicine of ageing and in 1993 moved with it to the new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. On returning from a holiday in India, in February 1994, he was alarmed to find his plane hi-jacked and was considerably distressed by this experience. Soon after, when walking to a post-graduate meeting, he found he was unable to keep up with a colleague and this led to the diagnosis of an erstwhile ‘silent’ myocardial infarction. He had had maturity onset diabetes for several years and benefited considerably from coronary arterial by-pass grafts.

Nawal had an impish sense of fun but few knew that he quietly advised and supported consultant colleagues in many medical specialities. It was this role he really enjoyed, having been trained years previously for the Indian Diplomatic Service. He retired in 1996 and kept in contact with his colleagues at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where he was always made welcome. His final heart attack occurred in his home village in Patna.

He married Moti Devi in 1947 and they had two sons and one daughter. His elder son is a physician and his daughter a gynaecologist, both practising in India. The younger son heads a school in Bihar.

Brian Livesley

[Brit.med.J., 1999,318,814]

(Volume XI, page 524)

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