Lives of the fellows

Michael John World

b.31 October 1947 d.24 October 2012
BSc Lond(1969) MB BS(1972) MRCS LRCP(1972) MRCP(1975) MD(1981) FRCP(1992)

Michael World was a military physician and renal consultant at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He was born in Croydon, Surrey, the son of John Victor World, an engineer, and Eleanor World, a secretary. He grew up in Beckenham, where he attended Beckenham and Penge Grammar School for Boys. He studied medicine at the Royal Free Medical School, and completed his clinical training at the London Hospital.

From 1977 to 1981, Mike was a lecturer at the University of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was part of a pioneering programme for the training of female medical students. These were very formative years in his career: he began to collect comprehensive case histories, physical examinations and laboratory findings of all his patients. This approach and practical wealth of medical information formed the basis of his teaching and care of his patients. He had a total commitment to clinical excellence, and a complete dedication to the care of his patients and students. He was devoted to medicine and had endless patience in unravelling his patients’ medical problems. He was meticulous in his clinical history taking, examination and investigations, once diagnosing a case of leprosy in Birmingham.

On his return from Saudi Arabia, Mike completed additional clinical training, qualifying in gastroenterology, at Greenwich District Hospital and Elmdene Alcohol Unit, Bexley Hospital. In 1992 he became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

He then joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, and went to work at the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital at Woolwich. He subsequently went on to serve in some of the leading military hospitals and units at home and abroad.

He was appointed Army professor of military medicine in 1991, and he was given the distinguished position of defence professor of medicine (triservice) in 1995. In 1999 he was appointed defence professor of nephrology. In all of these areas, Mike enthusiastically developed the services available and looked after a very large number of military and civilian patients in both the UK and in overseas operations, including Northern Island, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was always available to be consulted by British military doctors worldwide at any time if they had a difficult medical problem to solve. He trained two generations of military doctors and is fondly remembered by them. He was appointed a full colonel in January 2001.

Throughout his career, both before and after joining the Army, Mike was extensively involved in clinical research, collaborated with many other academic institutions, and published numerous papers in military and other professional journals. The last 11 years of his service he worked as a renal physician at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where he held a joint appointment at the medical school.

Mike was well suited to the Army, made many friends and was a true ‘brother in arms’. Certain things were very important to him. At the age of 12, while camping with the Scouts, he was the only one who arranged for the Daily Telegraph to be delivered to his tent and later, while on deployment in the desert in Iraq, he arranged for his favourite Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade to be available. After nearly losing his life while being shelled in a hospital in Basra, and having taken care of all of the family’s needs, Mike finally decided to treat himself to a beautiful second-hand umbrian red Bentley, which he drove with much joy around Birmingham.

Mike was survived by his wife Patricia, whom he met while in Saudi Arabia. She was always hugely supportive throughout their marriage. He had two sons, James and David, two stepsons, Christopher and Ted, and a stepdaughter, Carolyn, who predeceased him. His three grandchildren and six step-grandchildren also gave him much happiness.

Allan Thomson

[The Telegraph]

(Volume XII, page web)

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