Lives of the fellows

Anthony Gwyn Morgan

b.31 March 1937 d.10 August 2009
MB ChB Bristol(1961) MRCP(1967) MD(1969) FRCP(1982)

Anthony Gwyn Morgan was a medical director of and consultant physician at Airedale General Hospital, near Keighley, Yorkshire. He was born in Watford of Welsh parents, grew up in Weymouth and went to school at Wycliffe College near Stroud. His father, Eric Oliver Morgan, was an osteopath in Weymouth, and both parents were vegetarians. He studied at Bristol University, where he qualified in medicine and later gained an MD. His house jobs were at Bristol Royal Infirmary and he held senior house officer posts at Taunton. His early research was done in Portsmouth.

In 1968 he moved to Monty Losowsky’s unit at Leeds General Infirmary to train as a gastroenterologist and to carry on research in nutrition in the elderly and aspects of liver pathology. He survived the culture shock of moving to Yorkshire to such an extent that he became an honorary Yorkshireman who devoted a lot of his time to exploring the Dales, walking through every dale in turn until he knew them all intimately.

In 1972 he was appointed as a consultant physician at Airedale General Hospital near Keighley, where he stayed until his retirement. He was a faithful and committed member of staff. There he established a gastroenterology unit by initiating the use of endoscopy as the primary investigative technique. This he ran with a radiologist and a surgeon. He was a hard-working, instantly available, general physician with a specialty.

Alongside his busy clinical practice, he was a dedicated investigative scientist. He made it possible to extend his research interest in peptic ulceration by including every patient who qualified and who agreed into a study of treatment. This rolling programme resulted in an excellent level of patient care, accompanied by many publications and poster presentations at scientific meetings. In addition, he had many other clinical interests reflected in the titles of the scientific papers he wrote, including a chapter in Ian A D Bouchier’s Textbook of gastroenterology (London, Baillière Tindall, 1984).

In his practice he used a multidisciplinary approach based on histology, so he was a principal protagonist of weekly pathology meetings with pathologists, radiologists and surgeons. In a busy clinical job he was able to see clearly what made a good scientific paper and he wrote many. As an acutely observant physician, he noticed if things went wrong. Soon after ibuprofen came onto the market, promoted as an anti-inflammatory drug without side effects, he noticed that patients taking this drug presented regularly with peptic ulceration. He wrote to The Lancet outlining his observations, but his letter remained unpublished.

He took a full part in the management of the hospital, serving for years, first as clinical services manager and then, from 1992, as medical director, which he combined with being chairman of the medical staff committee until he retired in 1997. He served on many related committees within the hospital, such as the medical equipment sub-committee, the ethics committee, the cytotoxics committee and the drugs and therapeutics committee.

In the Yorkshire region, he served as chairman of the gastroenterology working group and was a member of the regional medical specialties sub committee, the regional university liaison committee and the regional research and development committee. On the national stage, he was principal coordinator of the World Congress of Gastroenterology international upper gastrointestinal bleeding survey 1978 to 1986, and then the coordinator of the multinational non-ulcer dyspepsia survey. In addition, he served on working groups and committees of the BMA and the British Society of Gastroenterology, as well as being the first president of the Bradford Gut Club.

Outside the hospital, he was a family man. He married Margaret née Crowther in 1963, and they had two sons (Andrew and Richard) and a daughter (Caroline). His Christian faith governed every aspect of his life. He spent time promoting the distribution of Bibles with the Gideons, and he hosted a long-running house church group with Margaret. In his retirement he was able to indulge his enjoyment of walking in the Dales by participating in and leading the University of the Third Age walking group until his final illness diminished his power. He died in Airedale General Hospital surrounded by his family.

W A F McAdam

(Volume XII, page web)

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