Lives of the fellows

Frank William Nash

b.18 November 1918 d.7 January 1999
MRCS LRCP(1942) MB BS Lond(1942) MRCP(1948) MD(1949) DPH(1959) FRCP(1972) FRCPCH(1959)

Frank William Nash was a consultant paediatrician in the Merthyr and Aberdare region of South Wales. He was born in Hackney, East London, and died from a respiratory infection in his sleep a few miles away in Bow.

His father’s family were connected with silversmiths and engravers in the Clerkenwell area - his mother’s with music and the arts. Despite the death of his mother, when he was 11, he gained an entrance scholarship to Christ’s Hospital School in the same year. In 1937 he won another entrance scholarship, to Westminster Hospital Medical School. He was an outstanding student, gaining many class and final year prizes. He qualified with the conjoint diploma in 1942 and soon after obtained his MB BS.

He was appointed house physician to the paediatric department, after which he married Betty, a biology teacher, and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. Within a few weeks he was posted to India and later the Middle East, which kept them apart for over three years.

After the war Frank returned to his training school, first as a house physician in general medicine, then as a registrar in paediatrics at the Westminster and at the Westminster Children’s Hospital in Vincent Square. In 1948, having obtained his membership of the College, he was appointed first as a house physician and then as a registrar at Great Ormond Street. He went on to a post as first assistant to the paediatric department at the London Hospital.

In 1951 he was granted a research fellowship at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital during which time he studied renal function in various childhood diseases. In 1952 a grant from the French government and the Ciba Foundation funded an exchange fellowship at the International Children’s clinic in Paris, under Robert Debre.

He then spent eight years as the first paediatrician to be appointed to the Merthyr and Aberdare region in South Wales, where being single handed he carried a heavy clinical load. His interest in preventive measures in paediatrics led him to carry out a detailed review of all births and infant deaths during 1955 in the area. The data obtained formed the basis of his dissertation for his diploma in public health.

In 1961 he was appointed as a second paediatrician to the Brighton and Lewes area of Sussex. He impressed all those with whom he worked, publishing many papers on a wide variety of paediatric topics and for three years he was an honorary physician to out-patients at Great Ormond Street. The South East Metropolitan Hospital Board assisted him financially to study maternal education and attitudes.

He was at one time an examiner for the General Nursing Council of England and Wales and a member of the council of the paediatric section of the Royal Society of Medicine. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1972 and of the newly created Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 1997.

He was a quiet, kind and retiring man - a good listener whose advice, when sought, was never given off the cuff, but only after careful consideration.

Frank was a passionate believer in the National Health Service but sadly, in 1975, he was forced by depression to give up active paediatric practice at which he had excelled. Fortunately his considerable intellect had enabled him to develop non-medical interests. He shared his interest in bird watching with his wife, studied history extensively and loved the music of Brahms, Mahler and Richard Strauss. Although he belittled his own efforts, he was no mean artist so that members of his family and some fortunate friends can now admire the fruits of his labour.

Malcolm Anderson

[Brit.med.J., 1999,318,1080]

(Volume XI, page 412)

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