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Delivering bad news


Remembering good and bad doctors
Harold Lambert Physician
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The climate of the times was you went round to beds with a great huge horde of students, but my boss who was my first chief at UCH when I was a house physician, Max Rosenheim, was a very distinguished guy and later became a Lord and president of the college. He was, he was a bachelor and he was kind of very clear-cut chap. He was a physician with a physiological turn of mind who liked bringing science to medicine but he... was civil, he had respect for patients and he would never have done a thing like that, you know, sweep in with 30 students. So there were good people as well. And some people were so pompous it was unimaginable, really unimaginable. There was a senior physician. He's now dead. I don't know how the slander, called Kenneth Harris. He was unimaginably pompous, and I just couldn't stand him at any price. He was also extremely stupid and a very bad teacher.

British doctor Harold Lambert (1926-2017) spent his career tackling infectious diseases, helping in the development of pyrazinamide as an effective treatment for tuberculosis. He also published work on the rational use of antibiotics and was a trustee and medical advisor for the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Listeners: Roger Higgs

Roger Higgs was an inner city GP for 30 years in south London, UK, and is Emeritus Professor of General Practice at Kings College London, where he set up the department.

He gained scholarships in classics at Cambridge but changed to medicine after a period of voluntary work in Kenya in 1962. He was Harold Lambert's registrar for 18 months in the early 1970s, the most influential and exciting episode in his hospital training. He set up his own practice in 1975. He helped to establish medical ethics as a practical and academic subject through teaching, writing and broadcasting, and jointly set up the 'Journal of Medical Ethics' in 1975.

His other work included studies in whole person assessment and narrative in general practice and development work in primary medical care: innovations here included intermediate care centres, primary care assessment in accident and emergency departments, teaching internal medicine in general practice and establishing counselling services in medicine.

He was made MBE in 1987 for this development work and now combines bioethics governance, teaching and writing with an arts based retirement.

Tags: University College Hospital

Duration: 58 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008