Lives of the fellows

Desmond John Green

b.11 February 1952 d.22 April 2013
MB ChB Birm(1975) FRCR(1985) FRCP(2010)

Desmond Green (known as ‘Des’) was a consultant radiologist at Nottingham University Hospitals. He was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and was educated at the local grammar school, where he was an outstanding student, despite coming from a non-academic background. He went on to Birmingham University to study medicine. During his first year he was introduced to radiology, starting an interest that was to become the basis of his clinical career and also led to his meeting Cath, a radiographer, who became his wife in 1975.

Des graduated in 1975 and, during the next five years, went on to hold several junior posts, all in Birmingham hospitals. He reached the level of middle grade registrar in medicine before changing to radiology. Even then his interest in administration was becoming evident as he was elected president of the doctors’ mess and was a keen member of the soccer team. This fascination with sport persisted for the rest of his life, although mainly in a passive capacity.

In 1980 Des entered the Oxford radiology training scheme, where he was particularly influenced by Basil Shepstone, who had an interest in nuclear medicine. As a junior radiologist, Des was co-author of some useful publications, mostly related to nuclear medicine.

In 1985 he became a fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and, in 1986, he successfully applied for the vacant post of consultant radiologist with a special interest in nuclear medicine at Nottingham City Hospital.

The scope of radiology was expanding rapidly at the time with computerisation, new technologies and new techniques. Des worked closely with the cardiologists and physicists to introduce new, safe and painless techniques for examining the heart. In addition, his other main interest was bone densitometry, developed with one of the metabolic physicians, and he was author or co-author of many papers on the topic. He was also committed to imaging patients with cancer, and the clinical oncologists and radiotherapists relied heavily on his observational skills and reports for appropriate management of their patients.

Des soon developed the other main facet of his career when he became a member of the Nottingham radiology training group within a couple of years of his appointment. He was particularly helpful and patient with those junior radiologists having difficulty with their postgraduate examinations. Des will be remembered by generations of trainees who passed through the Nottingham radiology training scheme as a source of practical advice and encouragement. He was RCR clinical tutor for the scheme, and introduced the concept of log books at a time when they were not in general use.

This in turn led to his involvement in medical committee work. Being quietly spoken and tactful, with an equable temperament, most people found Des pleasant to work with. He was also a determined person, willing to take up a challenge or an opportunity when it arose. This led to his being a British Medical Association place of work representative, chairman of the medical staff committee and also chairman of the City Hospital postgraduate education centre.

Des came to know influential radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians and physicists from around the UK, whom he then persuaded to go to Nottingham to teach the trainees with mock examinations and lectures. This also helped trainees with their search for consultant posts later in their careers.

For several years, he served on the education board of the RCR in London, where he headed responsibility for continuing professional development, and subsequently liaised with other Royal Colleges in this field.

For many years, until his partial retirement at the age of 60, Des was an associate postgraduate dean in the Mid-Trent Deanery, which subsequently became the East Midlands Deanery. This involved him in the supervision of training of junior surgeons and anaesthetists in the region.

His expertise in nuclear medicine resulted in his becoming chairman of the nuclear medicine specialty training committee, which was under the auspices of the Royal College of Physicians. He was elected a fellow of the RCP in 2010.

Despite being aware of his final diagnosis for three and a half years, he bore the knowledge without complaint or self pity and continued to work almost to the end. He died at home from prostate cancer. He was survived by his wife and two daughters. Sadly, on the day after his death, he was honoured by the award of the president’s medal at a meeting of the British Nuclear Medicine Society.

Adrian Manhire

(Volume XII, page web)

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