Lives of the fellows

Andrew Henry Garmany Love

b.28 September 1934 d.4 January 2001
CBE(1995) MB BCh BAO Belfast(1958) MRCPI(1961) MRCP(1961) MD(1963) FRCPI(1972) FRCP(1973)

Andrew Henry Garmany 'Gary' Love was one of Northern Ireland's most distinguished doctors. He was born in Bangor, Co. Down and attended Bangor Endowed School. After leaving school he entered the faculty of medicine in Queen's University, where he proved to be a brilliant student. He took an intercalated degree in physiology and biochemistry with first class honours, and in 1958 he achieved the rare distinction of first class honours in his medical finals. He then undertook his pre-registration house officer year in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, the hospital with which he was associated for most of this professional career.

He then went back to the department of physiology as a lecturer. During this time he became a member of the Royal College of Physicians of both London and Ireland, and undertook research which formed the basis of his MD degree. This was on the effect of the infusion of glucose into the duodenum on peripheral blood flow and was related to the 'dumping syndrome', a complication of gastric surgery for peptic ulcer and common at that time. In carrying out his research, he joined the team in the distinguished department of physiology in Belfast, led successively by professors Barcroft, Greenfield and Roddie, which carried out research on peripheral blood flow using venous occlusion plethysmography.

He then moved to the department of medicine as a lecturer, achieving consultant status in 1965. During this time he won an MRC travelling fellowship which he used to study gastroenterology in Boston University and cholera in the US Naval Research Unit in Taipei. He developed particular expertise in the study of the flux of ions and fluid across the gastrointestinal wall. He subsequently became a consultant to the SEATO research unit in Pakistan. After returning to Belfast he established himself as a consultant in general medicine and gastroenterology, as a brilliant teacher, and continued his research in ion transport in the gut. He led the development of the modem speciality of gastroenterology in Northern Ireland, and introduced fibreoptic endoscopy. In 1981 he was special advisor to the Northern Ireland Office on the hunger strikes, using his expertise in nutrition in that role.

As would be expected of somebody of his ability, throughout his professional life he was heavily involved in both university and health service administration. He served as dean of the faculty of medicine in Queen's University from 1981 to1986, and was a past president of the Medical Deans of Europe. He was a member of the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority and a member of the Eastern Health and Social Services Board. He chaired the Northern Ireland Council for Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education from 1995 to 1999, was a member of the GMC from 1981 to 1987, and at the time of his death was chairman of its review board for overseas doctors. One of his particular achievements was as founder chairman of CREST, the clinical resource efficiency support team, which was established by the Northern Ireland Department of Health in 1989 to guide healthcare professionals on the use of drugs and other medical procedures, and was in many ways a forerunner of NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

From 1996 to1997 he was a Censor of the Royal College of Physicians of London, the first Northern Ireland doctor to have achieved such a senior position in the College. He retired in 1999, but was soon appointed to a review committee, established by the new Northern Ireland Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, to advise on the pattern of the hospital services in Northern Ireland.

The garden of his childhood home adjoined the Bangor Golf Club and Gary Love showed an aptitude for golf from an early age. In 1956, while a medical student, he became the Irish amateur close golf champion and was selected for the Irish international golf team but for personal reasons was unable to play, becoming the only Irish amateur golf champion never to have played in the international matches. Like many people who reach the top in their sport, after he no longer had time to practise, he virtually gave up golf, except for the occasional social game. He then took up sailing, took his yacht master's certificate, and for over 20 years spent his summer holidays with his wife and son cruising in the islands off the west coast of Scotland. More recently he moved to the country and took up riding and it was while he was riding that he suffered his fatal heart attack.

Gary Love was a warm and friendly man, extremely well read, and up to date in all aspects of medicine. He was able, apparently effortlessly, to produce expert knowledge on any aspect of medicine, and was an inspiring teacher. He was always ready to help and his advice was freely given and always worth having. An essentially private person, he carried his considerable talents modestly. He was awarded the CBE in 1995 and became a founder fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998. He leaves his wife Margaret and son Tony.

Robert Stout

[The Independent 3 Feb 2001]

(Volume XI, page 346)

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