Lives of the fellows

Richard Hugh Balme

b.5 April 1923 d.12 December 2006
BM BCh Oxon(1947) MRCP(1951) DM(1958) FRCP(1970)

Richard Hugh Balme was a consultant in geriatric medicine in east Berkshire. He was born in London, the son of John Nettleton Balme, a wool broker, and Helen Marjorie Balme née Hodgkinson, the daughter of a captain in the Royal Navy. He was educated at Radley, and then went on to Oxford to study medicine. He qualified in 1947.

After house posts at the London Hospital, Balme spent two years in the Royal Air Force, mostly in Egypt. He then returned to the London Hospital, as a registrar. From 1953 to 1954 he was a fellow in medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and was then a lecturer in the academic unit of the London, leading a team that introduced haemodialysis for acute renal failure. He also developed an interest in gastroenterology.

In 1959 he was appointed as a consultant physician to the Bethnal Green and Metropolitan hospitals in East London. At these hospitals he introduced gastrointestinal fibreoptic endoscopy and cardiac monitoring, and set up one of the first postgraduate centres for general practitioners in the East End.

In 1975 he moved to east Berkshire, as a consultant physician in geriatric medicine, initially with sole responsibility for 300 beds. He retired in 1984.

He was interested in boating, gardening and woodcarving, and also enjoyed classical music and bridge. In 1953 he married Elizabeth Maberly Smith, the daughter of an architect. They had two sons and three daughters. He died from vascular dementia, and was survived by three children, two in general practice, and six grandchildren.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J., 2007 335 215]

(Volume XII, page web)

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