Lives of the fellows

Edward Stuart Mucklow

b.24 January 1932 d.3 March 2010
BA Oxon(1954) BM BCh(1957) DObst RCOG(1960) DCH(1963) MRCP Edin(1966) FRCP Edin(1986) FRCP(1989) DTM Irel(1995) FRCPath(1997)

Edward Stuart Mucklow (‘Ted’) was a consultant paediatrician in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire area. Born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, his parents were both doctors. His father, Stuart Leslie Mucklow was a consultant radiologist and his mother, Alexandra Winifred (‘Alex’) née Groves was an assistant diabetologist. Through his father’s mother (from the Fernie family of Fife) he was the eighth generation to become medically qualified. Educated at Cheltenham Junior School and Radley College, he studied medicine at Exeter College, Oxford and University College Hospital (UCH). After qualifying in 1957 he did house jobs at UCH and obtained the post of ship’s surgeon on the cable ship CS Ocean Layer. He was hired for a Brazilian cable laying expedition and found it a great adventure.

On his return, he did further house jobs at UCH and the Hammersmith Hospital before joining the RAMC in 1960, to do his National Service. He served as a captain doing general practice at Church Cookham, near Aldershot and captained RAMC teams in various different sports.

On demobilisation he joined the staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in 1962 and, while there, obtained particular training in paediatric neurosurgery. The following year he became a junior lecturer in paediatrics at UCH, for several months, and then registrar in general medicine at Cheltenham General Hospital. In 1966, having passed the membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, he moved to Oxford as a lecturer in paediatrics and began to specialise in neonatal medicine at the Nuffield Maternity Hospital.

Appointed the first consultant paediatrician on the Isle of Wight in 1968, he immediately established a paediatric department at the Royal Isle of Wight County Hospital in Ryde. There was no purpose built special care baby unit on the island and, within four months, he had set one up. Enlarged and updated in 1976, the unit still continues as a neonatal intensive care unit. One of his most popular innovations was the introduction of the technique of exchange transfusion which mean that mothers who were Rhesus negative with antibodies could remain on the island to give birth whereas before they had been automatically transferred to Portsmouth. He also superintended the move of the children’s ward to St Mary’s Hospital in Newport and later played a key role in designing a new children’s ward for St Mary’s which opened in 1992. Undertaking additional clinical duties at St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth, he also, from 1973, became honorary lecturer in paediatrics at the University of Southampton and was Isle of Wight undergraduate tutor from 1988 to 1995.

Beginning in 1977, he did a series of 20 locum jobs in the Middle East, the first of which was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. While there he learnt Arabic and developed an interest in tropical medicine in children. In 1979 he was seconded for a year to the new Abdulla Fouad Hospital in Dammam. As chief of paediatrics, he established a pharmacopoeia of drugs and dosages for children and an immunisation schedule. Later postings were to Jeddah and Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and in Sa’da in North Yemen, where he initiated the practice of giving BCG vaccinations at birth to protect against the tuberculosis that was rife in that area. This was later adopted as a standard practice by the health ministry. Two years before retirement he studied tropical medicine and passed the DTM of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1995.

In his many scientific publications he wrote on topics such as neonatal tuberculosis, childhood diabetes, neonatal gut infarction and poisoning by cobalt or mercury. This latter topic grew out of his concern for the levels of child mortality at the time due to unsafe toy chemistry sets. Through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit he set up a nationwide survey of chemistry set poisoning and, armed with the results, campaigned vigorously for improvements which eventually led to a change in the legislation.

A keen sportsman, he played cricket, hockey and rugby for his college, hospital and the RAMC. Elected a member of the Oxford University Old Occasionals Hockey Club, he also played for the Isle of Wight and Old Rydeians Hockey Clubs for 20 years. Founder chairman of the Whitecroft Sports Ground Trust from 1991, he was also president of their cricket club and chairman of the Isle of Wight Health Associates Cricket Club. Well into his 70s, he played 20 overs evening cricket.

He loved history, archaeology and the study of Islamic culture and enjoyed learning languages particularly Arabic, French and modern Greek. After retirement he enjoyed travelling, especially to Spain, Turkey and North Africa. Another passion was model and steam railways – his 70th birthday treat was to drive a GWR Castle Class locomotive at Didcot. Walking the hills and lanes of the Isle of Wight was a favourite activity and he was, for a while, a governor of two local schools.

He met Mary Lynn Cashel (‘Lynn’) at Great Ormond Street Hospital where she was a fellow house physician. They married in 1966 and she became a community paediatrician. Lynn survived him, together with their children, Stuart, Clare, Celia and Gordon; grandsons, Joshua and Alastair; and sister, Pat.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2011 343 4409 - accessed 25 April 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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