Lives of the fellows

Walter Ernest Rhoden

b.29 June 1960 d.30 March 2008
BSc Manch(1981) MB ChB(1984) MRCP(1987) FRCP(1999)

Walter Ernest Rhoden was a consultant physician and cardiologist in Barnsley, whose promising career was cut short when he and his wife were both killed in a motorcycle crash in Florida. He was born in Urmstow, Manchester, the son of Frank, a physicist, and his wife, Marian, who was a head teacher. Educated at the Manchester Grammar School, he studied medicine at St Andrews University from 1978 to 1981 and then returned to Manchester to work for his qualifications at the university and Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI). Qualifying in 1984, he did house jobs at the MRI and then moved, in 1985, to the Royal Preston Hospital, where he stayed for two years as senior house officer on the medical rotation.

Moving to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield as a registrar, he gained much experience in the professorial medical unit which specialised in endocrinology and autoimmune disease, as well as providing a general medical service. Following this, he worked at the North Manchester General Hospital from 1988 to 1989, covering a department with a very busy medical commitment and a special emphasis on respiratory medicine. He was next appointed research fellow at the regional cardiothoracic centre, based at the Wythenshaw Hospital in Manchester and, while there, did a locum at the Rochdale Infirmary and Birch Hill Hospital, where he was responsible for patients on the coronary care unit. In February 1993, he became a consultant physician and cardiologist at Barnsley District Hospital – at the time he was the youngest consultant in the UK, being only 32 years old.

He was the co-author of a number of important papers on topics such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and, compiled, while at the Wythenshaw, The Wythenshaw Hospital cardiac care guidelines. Popular for his infectious enthusiasm, he regularly lectured to the medical students at Sheffield University and supervised those on attachment at Barnsley. He was particularly proud of having introduced an EECP (enhanced counter current pulsation) machine to the department in Barnsley. This innovative technology consisted of a pair of compressive trousers which are similar to blood pressure cuffs and inflate and deflate in time with the patient’s heartbeat. They proved highly useful in encouraging blood flow in sufferers of angina and similar problems.

He was married to Kathryn (‘Kathy’) Phipps, a popular GP at Garland House Surgery, Wath-upon-Deane. They had three children, Jamie, Emily and Oliver. Their eldest son is believed to have had a congenital heart condition. The family were on holiday together in Florida, when a truck hit the Harley Davidson bike that he and his wife were riding and they were killed instantly, leaving their children who were, at the time, aged between 12 and 17.

RCP editor

[Daily Mail 3 January 2008’s-grief- British -holiday-doctors-killed in-Harley-Davidson-Horror-smash-in-Florida – accessed 4 January 2015; BBC News, – accessed 4 January 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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