Lives of the fellows

Brian Leonard Pentecost

b.12 March 1934 d.15 January 2015
OBE MB BS Lond(1957) MRCP(1959) MD(1965) FRCP(1971)

Brian Pentecost was a consultant cardiologist at Birmingham General Hospital. He was born in Bexleyheath, Kent, the son of Leonard Austin Pentecost, a railway stationmaster, and Florence Ethel Pentecost née Histed, a seamstress and the daughter of an engineer. He attended Erith Grammar School and then won a state scholarship to study medicine at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London. He qualified in 1957, winning prizes for pathology and medicine, and the silver medal for the whole of London.

He held house posts at St Mary’s, Paddington General and Brompton hospitals (where he worked with the cardiologist Paul Wood [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.456]). He gained his MRCP in 1959. He then carried out his National Service from 1959 to 1961 as a medical specialist in Germany, in Münster and Hanover.

He returned to London, where he worked at Hammersmith Hospital as a registrar and senior registrar under John McMichael [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.341]. In 1965, he wrote his MD thesis and, at the age of just 32, became a consultant in Birmingham. Before taking up his appointment he spent about a year at Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States.

In Birmingham he set up one of the first coronary care units in a side room in a district general hospital, eventually persuading the hospital management to provide him with a proper ward. He also carried out research on the effects of heart attacks on diabetes patients, and on potential treatments for patients, including thrombolysis. He was an early advocate of multidisciplinary team working.

Along with other colleagues, he worked through the night on 21 November 1974, treating the victims of the IRA pub bombings.

He was the postgraduate dean for the West Midlands and was also the Linacre fellow at the Royal College of Physicians, where he encouraged the development of a more professional approach to the monitoring of junior doctors’ training. He was an honorary professor of medicine at Birmingham University.

In 1993, following the reorganisation of the Birmingham hospitals, Pentecost became the medical director of the British Heart Foundation, a post he held until 1999. With the then director general Leslie Busk, he helped the Foundation focus on high quality research. In 2001 he became chair of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund

In his retirement he enjoyed golf, skiing and gardening.

In 1958 he married Janice Morgan Jones (Jan), a nurse. They had two daughters (Alison and Sally) and a son (Michael). He died from complications of a stroke and was survived by his widow and children.

RCP editor

[St Mary’s Hosp Gaz 1970 76 53-4; BMJ 2015 350 1317 – accessed 27 February 2017; The Times 16 June 2015 – accessed 27 February 2017]

(Volume XII, page web)

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