Lives of the fellows

Jeremy Rowe

b.14 March 1954 d.17 September 2008
MB ChB Birm(1977) MRCP(1983) FRCP(1994)

Jeremy Rowe (‘Jed’) was a consultant in geriatric medicine at Moseley Hall Hospital, Birmingham. Born in Chalfont-St-Giles, Buckinghamshire, his father, Stanley, was a youth and community worker, and his mother, Gwendoline Maud, was a personnel and social worker. Educated at William Hulme’s Grammar School in Manchester he studied medicine at Birmingham University, qualifying in 1977.

After house jobs at the Good Hope Hospital from 1980 to 1981, and Sandwell General Hospital from 1981 to 1984, he joined the staff of Birmingham University as a lecturer in geriatric medicine. His mentor was Bernard Isaacs and he whole-heartedly adopted Isaacs’ approach to geriatrics. During the three years he spent there, Rowe became one of the most popular speakers in the medical school and famous for his well researched ‘instant lectures’. He appeared to have a photographic memory for information and colleagues remembered his approach to the particular needs of older people as ‘inspirational’.

In 1987 he was appointed consultant geriatrician at Broadgreen Hospital (formerly Newsham General Hospital) in Liverpool and honorary clinical lecturer at Liverpool University. At this time he said that he felt he was working in a string of closing hospitals. While there he helped to set up a local Crossroads Caring for Carers service and was its chair from 1991 to 1994.

Seven years later, he returned to Birmingham as a consultant at Moseley Hill Hospital where his charismatic leadership inspired a busy inpatient service and he opened a clinic specifically devoted to falling that attracted patients from far afield. As a lecturer he had researched falls and he became founding treasurer of the falls prevention and bone health section of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS), helping others set up clinics similar to his own. Playing a major role in setting up Action on Elder Abuse, he was also involved in PATCH, a nationally funded randomised control trial of district general versus community hospital care.

He published papers on elder abuse, pressure sores, mobility disorders and operational geriatrics. A seminal publication was (with K Davies and G Sangster) ‘The rapid assessment clinic for elders’ (Clin Rehab, 1992, 6, 7-11). The first description of Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy in later life was written by him, and together with his son, he devised a method of measuring sway with a pantograph.

Dedicated to his patients, he turned down the offer of a chair. The BGS awarded him a medal ‘for outstanding service to the society’ and the Institute of Aging and Health presented him with a plaque for his excellent local contribution.

A keen bird watcher, he also enjoyed reading post-war political history.

In 1983 he married Teresa Marian, who was a nurse. When he died, of motor neurone disease, she survived him with their children, Tom, James, Charlie and Lucy.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2008 337 2252 www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2252 - accessed 25 April 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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