Lives of the fellows

David Ronald Triger

b.14 September 1941 d.13 March 1993
BA Oxon(1963) BM BCh(1966) MA(1966) MRCP(1970) DPhil(1972) FRCP(1980)

David Triger was a much loved and respected figure in the Sheffield medical community who died all too prematurely, aged 51, only 18 months after deciding to devote his talents to postgraduate medical education, as postgraduate dean. He was born in Hastings where his late father, Kurt Triger, had been a general practitioner. Both his parents had medically qualified forbears. There were early indications that he was a bright lad, as evidenced by a major scholarship in classics to Cheltenham College in 1955, and a state scholarship which took him to St John’s College, Oxford in 1960.

The Oxford period, which continued for 12 years, impressed him greatly; moreover he made many lifelong friends who were impressed by him. Two events were to shape his future career. First, through working with Ralph Wright (q.v.) he began an interest in the liver - particularly the immunological aspects of liver disease, the subject of his DPhil thesis. Second, he was to acquire a fondness for clinical teaching and continuing education at which he was always to be very popular and very effective.

From 1972-76, after a period as research registrar at the Nuffield department at Oxford, David was lecturer in medicine with Ralph Wright at the University of Southampton medical school, During this time he had a short visit to Yale, USA, as a George Herbert Hunt travelling scholar and from 1975-76 he was a MRC travelling fellow at the University of Southern California. His main career was in John Richmond’s department in the University of Sheffield medical school where he went as senior lecturer in 1977 and was subsequently elevated to readership. Suffice it to say that in the ensuing years he earned an international reputation in aspects of liver disease.

He worked closely with the senior physician gastroenterologist, Derek Holdsworth, and the professor of surgery, Alan Johnson, but he was the prime mover in his chosen field of work. He continued his research on immunological disturbances and concentrated also on primary biliary cirrhosis, acute liver failure, and the management of variceal bleeding. He lectured widely, published extensively and was much in demand for authoritative editorial reviews. From being postgraduate tutor at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, he went on to be chairman of the Sheffield postgraduate medical education committee and college tutor, Sheffield, for the College. This gradual progression in postgraduate work made him an ideal choice, in 1991, as postgraduate dean. In his last appointment, which carried professorial status, his energies were making an innovative and forward looking approach to the fast changing educational needs of the profession.

In 1972 he married Jennifer Ann Norman (Jennie), daughter of the emeritus professor of classics at the University of Hull. They were to be a happy and devoted partnership who later had four children, including twin boys. David Triger was a splendid colleague, with good humour and a kind disposition. He seemed not to harbour ill will and was never known to speak unworthily about anyone. His main energies were of course concentrated on his family and his work. He did, however, have many other interests which were not widely known. He was a keen philatelist, a cat lover, an enthusiastic vegetable gardener and a skilled cook, with a fondness for good food and wine. Fortunately his neighbours shared his occasional lapse into pyromania -huge bonfires. In the autumn of 1992 David had a life threatening heart attack from which he made a good recovery. Then, shortly after a successful teaching visit to India, he died suddenly at home.

J Richmond

(Volume IX, page 530)

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