Lives of the fellows

George Mackenzie Cochrane

b.19 March 1929 d.8 April 2003
MB BChir Cantab(1953) DPhysMed(1959) MRCP Edin(1962) FRCP Edin(1975) FRCP(1985)

George Mackenzie Cochrane, director of the Mary Marlborough Lodge in Oxford, helped establish rehabilitation medicine as a separate specialty. He was born in Buxton in Derbyshire, the son of George Cochrane, a GP and a medical officer of health, and Daisy Winifred Cochrane, a state registered nurse. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, and then studied medicine at King’s College Medical School, graduating in 1953.

He was a senior registrar in physical medicine at King’s College, London, and was appointed as a consultant in Derby in 1962. At Derbyshire Royal Infirmary he set up the first National Rehabilitation Demonstration Centre. With members of the former Institute for Consumer Ergonomics at Loughborough University, he established a bio-engineering laboratory to produce customised equipment for disabled adults and children.

In 1980, he moved to the Mary Marlborough Lodge in Headington, Oxford, a 21-bed rehabilitation unit for people with a severe disability. Cochrane established strong links with specialist clinical units, orthopaedic colleagues and Oxford University engineers, to meet the specialist needs of patients.

Cochrane believed that rehabilitation medicine needed to be established as a separate specialty, and worked to achieve this goal. In 1983, the two main rheumatological societies, the British Society for Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, and the Heberden Society, established a working party to look at the future of the two specialties. Rehabilitation was represented by Cochrane, and he became the first chairman of the Medical Disability Society (MDS), which later became the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine, the UK’s professional body for rehabilitation specialists. The rheumatologists formed their own society, the British Society for Rheumatology.

A George Cochrane elective prize in rehabilitation medicine has been set up in his name at King’s College Medical School, London. He had two sons and two daughters. His wife, Maryann, survived him.

RCP editor

[The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh www.rcpe.ac.uk/publications/obituaries/2007/cochrane.php – accessed 30 July 2010; British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine www.bsrm.co.uk/first25years/First25Years.htm – accessed 2 August 2010]

(Volume XII, page web)

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