Lives of the fellows

Helen Dorothy White

b.27 March 1974 d.6 March 2014
MB ChB Liverp(1997) MRCP(2000) MD(2007) FRCP(2012)

Helen White was a consultant physician at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool, with a specialist interest in diabetes and endocrinology. She was born in Preston, the younger daughter of Andrew White, a veterinary surgeon, and his wife, Dorothy. Helen grew up with her sister, Victoria, and was educated at Queen Mary School, Lytham St Annes, where she was awarded the sixth form prize, before attending the University of Liverpool Medical School. She excelled academically, achieving numerous distinctions and prizes. Helen was awarded the prestigious Owen T Williams prize for the highest marks in final MB and graduated with honours in 1997.

Following her house officer posts at Arrowe Park Hospital, Helen moved to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, where she worked as a senior house officer and Royal College of Physicians associate tutor and, subsequently, as a clinical research fellow. Her research interest focused on human growth hormone and investigated the effects of adult growth hormone deficiency and acromegaly on bone metabolism, before and after treatment. She published widely in respected peer-reviewed medical journals.

After the completion of her MD research, Helen worked as a specialist registrar in diabetes and endocrinology in various hospitals across Merseyside, with further associate college tutor commitments and organisational responsibility for the Mersey Deanery specialist registrar teaching. She took up her first consultant post in general (internal) medicine, diabetes and endocrinology at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in 2007, with sub-specialty responsibility (as clinical lead) for preconception care, antenatal care and palliative care in diabetes. Her interest in medical education continued, and she completed a postgraduate diploma in teaching and learning in clinical practice through Edge Hill University. Her work with Cardiff University as an educational and clinical supervisor and as a tutor on the university diabetes diploma course was recognised with honorary lecturer status. She took great pride in speaking at Royal College meetings, particularly as her sister Victoria had also done so as a consultant respiratory physiotherapist. Helen became known not only throughout the northwest and Wales as a well informed and erudite speaker at meetings, but also presented papers at several international conferences, both in Europe and the USA.

Pursuing her interest in pituitary disease, Helen moved to Aintree University Hospital NHS Trust in 2011. She was also appointed an honorary consultant in endocrinology for the neighbouring Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, where she had responsibility for the joint neurosurgical/endocrine pituitary clinic. Helen developed Aintree Hospital’s insulin pump service and led on the first National Insulin Pump Audit, as part of the expert reference group, writing the first publication from this project. She was also clinical lead for the development of NHS endocrinology services at Aintree. Her excellent managerial and leadership qualities led to her becoming clinical director for diabetes and endocrinology. This was a post that Helen continued to actively enjoy in spite of her failing health due to inflammatory breast cancer.

Throughout her career, Helen strived for excellence in all aspects of her work but, above all, her patients were always her first priority and she derived great satisfaction from her clinical care. She was an outstanding physician and teacher, excelling in all of her roles and was well-liked, and respected, by her patients and colleagues alike.

Outside of medicine, Helen loved being outdoors. She enjoyed sport, particularly hockey, captaining the medical school team at university and continuing to play for local teams after graduation. Helen loved spending time with friends, country walks with her family, skiing and scuba diving. She met her husband, James, at his sister’s wedding in 2007. They married two years later and their daughter, Emma, was born the following year.

Helen was a gifted physician, enjoying an accomplished medical career with outstanding achievements, but she was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother, never happier than when she was with James and Emma.

Niall Furlong

(Volume XII, page web)

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