Lives of the fellows

David Ritchie Ives

b.13 March 1939 d.3 February 2013
MB ChB Cantab(1965) MRCP(1969) FRCP(1990)

David Ritchie Ives was a consultant in geriatric medicine at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Born in Sidcup, his father was A G L Ives, secretary of the King’s Fund. At school he was interested in classics and hoped to study the subject at Oxford but his university plans were abandoned when his father suffered severe injuries in the Lewisham train crash of 1957. In 1959 his father had recovered sufficiently for him to enrol at Pembroke College and, by then, he had decided on medicine. A friend who studied physiology with him recalled Ritchies’ joy when experiments went well and his lack of enthusiasm for being a guinea pig in gastric acid tests. In his final year he worked on the multiplication of the influenza virus and the results were so successful that they appeared as ‘Participation of deoxribonucleic acid in the multiplication of influenza virus’ (Nature, 1962, 194, 1139-40), jointly with R D Barry and J G Cruickshank.

He continued his training at University College Hospital (UCH) in London and qualified in 1965. Six years later, in 1971, he travelled to the USA as a Medical Research Council travelling fellow and research fellow in medicine at the endocrine unit of Harvard Medical School. On returning to the UK in 1973, he became a senior research fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and studied bone disease at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. This was followed by a return to clinical work in 1980 and an appointment as a consultant physician in geriatrics at Leicester General Hospital.

Throughout his career he worked hard to make sure that elderly patients had equal access to medical specialists as those who were younger and, in the 20 years he spent there, strove to improve the standing and provision of care for the elderly. He volunteered to assist in the commissioning and design of the new building at the Leicester Royal Infirmary which was purpose built to ensure closer liaison between disciplines such as orthopaedic surgery, nursing and physiotherapy in order to help patients recover more quickly. By the time he retired from the NHS in 2004, his task had been accomplished and at the Leicester Royal Infirmary geriatrics was firmly a part of integrated medicine.

Always keen to encourage medical students, he was known for his infectious enthusiasm for his subject. Just before he retired, he published ‘Educational objectives for SHO’s in medicine for the elderly on medical rotation’ (Age ageing, 2003, 32, 493).

He enjoyed travelling, walking and gardening, particularly cultivating his favourite rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. The first trip he made post-retirement was to Sikkim to see the rhododendrons in the Himalayan foothills. Chair of the Leicestershire and Rutland Cambridge Society, he very much enjoyed keeping in contact with Pembroke and supported a PhD bursary in the biomedical sciences at the College named after a female scientist, P M Cotes, whose work in erythropoietin biology he had brought to wider recognition.

In 1967 he married Rosemary (‘Rosie’) née Carter, a nurse whom he met while he was finishing his training at UCH. She survived him when he died, together with their children Andrew, Christine and Alice.

RCP editor

[Pembroke College annual gazette - accessed 20 November 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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