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Crusading GP Inspired By A Child's Plight
Tuesday 2 October 2018
EXTRAORDINARY LIVES: The dad who battled his way through The Longest Day... even though childhood TB left him with one leg shorter than the other
Britain is full of unsung heroes and heroines who deserve recognition. Here, in our weekly obituary column, the moving and inspirational stories of ordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives, and who died recently, are told by their loved ones...
Crusading GP inspired by a child’s plight
By Alexander Spurr
Yet it was his commitment to do his very best for his patients that led him to become a pioneering researcher into a condition that in those days was known as ME, now chronic fatigue syndrome.
During the early Eighties, a boy of 14 came to see him with all the symptoms. Dad wanted to get to the bottom of what was causing it, but ME was at the time belittled in NHS circles as not a ‘real’ condition.
He became heavily involved in the fledgling John Richardson Research Group, a medical charity in the north-east of England, ultimately leading its work to promote greater understanding and awareness, as well as more effective treatment.
His commitment included running ME clinics, with my mother Eileen, a nurse, at his side, but it stretched to delivering lectures all round the country and building links with colleagues in Norway, Canada and Israel.
He continued with the clinics until two years ago, and the onset of the ill-health that preceded his peaceful death. In recent years his view on chronic fatigue syndrome — once a lonely one — has increasingly become mainstream, to the benefit of many sufferers.
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