Lives of the fellows

Michael Jacob Tarlow

b.27 December 1939 d.20 April 2009
MB BS Lond(1962) MSc(1965) MRCP(1968) FRCP(1982) FRCPCH(1997) LLM Wales(2000)

Michael (‘Mike’) Tarlow was a senior lecturer in paediatrics at the University of Birmingham and an honorary consultant paediatrician at Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital from 1974 until his retirement in 1999. He was born in London, the first of four sons of Jewish parents. His father, Samuel, who was a general practitioner, had emigrated from Lithuania as a teenager. Mike was educated at the Haberdasher’s Aske’s School, Hampstead, London. He qualified at Guy’s Hospital in 1962, having won prizes in bacteriology and clinical pathology.

After junior posts in London, and a spell as a ship’s doctor, he worked for an MSc in biochemistry at University College. It was at this time that he met and married Olwynne (née Frank), who was a biochemistry student at the same college. After a registrar post at Barnet General Hospital that included both general medicine and paediatrics, he completed his training in paediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and, as a senior registrar, in Aberdeen.

In Birmingham, he was the first paediatrician to develop a specific interest in liver diseases and later specialised in infectious diseases, doing important work on the causes of deafness after meningitis. He was president of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases from 1994 to 1995. For many years he ran a popular course for the diploma in child health and he was instrumental in developing a course for the MSc in paediatrics at Birmingham University. He served on the editorial boards of both Archives of Disease in Childhood and the British Journal of Hospital Medicine and made more than 60 contributions to scientific journals.

After retirement, he was much sought-after as a medical expert witness, particularly for cases involving meningitis, and he obtained a master’s degree in medical law from Cardiff. His leisure time interests, all taken seriously, were legion and included studies in Spanish, French and geology, food and cooking (particularly Indian and Chinese), bridge, chess, gardening, wine, solving puzzles, country walking and worldwide travel.

He and Olwynne moved some years after his retirement to Masham in north Yorkshire, where they enjoyed the country life and made many friends. He is survived by Olwynne, their two daughters (Sarah and Joanna) and one son (Ben), and seven grandchildren.

Doug Addy


(Volume XII, page web)

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