Lives of the fellows

Dominick Joseph Conway

b.6 February 1918 d.[?] March 1989
MA MB BCh Cantab(1943) DTM&H(1946) DCH(1946) MD(1950) MRCP(1951) FRCPC(1954) FRCP(1973)

Dominick Conway was born in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where his father, James Joseph Conway, was a farmer and mining contractor. Dominick - or ‘Nick', as he was called - received his early education at St George’s College, Salisbury. In 1936 he became an undergraduate at Caius College, Cambridge, and went on to St Thomas’ Hospital, London, where he obtained the Conjoint in 1942. During his student days he was an all rounder in sports.

After a spell as house physician at Colchester General Hospital, he joined the RAF medical service and served in the UK and India from 1942-45. On demobilization he still had a very open mind about which branch of medicine most interested him, but a house physician’s post in paediatrics quickly convinced him that paediatrics would be his life’s work. In 1945 he commenced his training at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, as a house physician, followed by an appointment as lecturer and research assistant at University College Hospital. Having obtained his doctorate from Cambridge in 1950 with his thesis entitled ‘Bronchiectasis in Childhood’, he completed his postgraduate training in 1952. In that same year he was awarded a research and travelling fellowship at Harvard University and the Children’s Medical Centre, Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked on infectious diseases and furthered his studies on bronchiectasis.

In 1953, Nick Conway was invited by the University of Ottawa, Canada, to head the department of paediatrics at the newly established faculty of medicine. He accepted the post and, with ms wife and family, moved to Canada and later became a Canadian citizen. He was professor and head of the department of paediatrics from 1953-71, and continued as professor until his retirement.

At the University he developed the teaching programme in paediatrics, setting a firm foundation for paediatric care and research. He was active in the planning and development of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and joined the staff of its new department of paediatrics when it was opened in 1974.

Conway’s reputation as an outstanding teacher and humanitarian was rapidly established and he was respected and beloved by both students and colleagues. During these years his research included nutrition and growth and development in children, and he was co-founder and chairman of the cleft palate team.

Nick met his wife, Rosamund Lees, while they were each visiting Paris in 1939. In their subsequent 45 years of marriage they had eight children, of whom two - Robin and Emily - became doctors. They led a wonderful family home life; in a house full of children, friends, students and refugees from many countries and societies, who were nurtured through hard times and difficult periods. Theirs was truly a loving home in the broadest sense of the phrase.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck at the peak of his career. Nick was found to have a malignancy involving his pelvis. He went to the Sloane-Kettering Institute in New York in 1969 for surgical removal of the tumour. In spite of the loss of his leg and the major portion of his pelvis, Nick returned to work and continued in the practice of paediatrics at the hospital and university. For the next twenty years his courage, faith and fortitude were an inspiration to his friends and colleagues.

Nick Conway was an outstanding paediatrician who left a permanent legacy behind him in the continuance of the high standards of paediatric care and teaching which he had nurtured from the beginning.

J Wiley
W Jeans
R Conway

(Volume IX, page 95)

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