Lives of the fellows

Frederick Leonard Richardson

b.14 May 1926 d.5 March 2004
MB ChB Birm(1950) MRCP(1955) FRCP(1974) MD

Frederick Leonard Richardson was the first director of the John F Kennedy Institute for the Habilitation of Mentally and Physically Handicapped Children, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He studied medicine in Birmingham, where he was one of a group of medical students who developed polio. He was left with significant disabilities and qualified a year later than his contemporaries, graduating in 1950.

He held house posts in Birmingham, at the General, Children’s and Queen Elizabeth hospitals, and was then a house physician at Hammersmith Hospital and at the Postgraduate Medical School of London. He was subsequently a house physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital. In the mid 1950s he was a paediatric registrar in Oxford, and then returned to Great Ormond Street as a registrar and then a senior registrar.

In 1957 he emigrated to the United States, initially as pediatrician in charge of the outpatient department, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and as an instructor in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Medical School. He later became an associate professor of pediatrics and director of the Diagnosis and Evaluation Center for Handicapped Children.

In 1967 he was named as the first director of the newly-opened John F Kennedy Institute for the Habilitation of Mentally and Physically Handicapped Children, which later became the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Two years later, in 1969, he was appointed as the director of the Mailman Center for Childhood Development at the University of Miami, Florida. He later held posts in Sydney, Australia. From 1993 to 2003, he was a lecturer in neurology at Yale. He also worked in many countries in the Third World.

He had an extraordinary ability to empathise with his patients and was deeply committed to helping disabled children.

His first marriage, to Lesley Allen Pierce, ended in divorce after 15 years. He went on to marry Virginia Gibbes. He died in a car accident. His second wife, a son (Nicholas Richardson) and a daughter (Sarah Richardson Kanne) survived him.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J., 2004 329 628; The Baltimore Sun 7 March 2004 http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2004-03-07/news/0403070037_1_richardson-kennedy-institute-hopkins – accessed 20 June 2011]

(Volume XII, page web)

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