This website has been established to satisfy a demand for information and towards this end I have let my activities as a doctor fall into four categories. This categorisation has the advantage of convenience albeit at the expense of tradition that might have dictated otherwise.
Firstly, there has been my commitment to the practice of medicine and, in particular to my speciality – cardiology – or more correctly to cardiovascular medicine, which obliterates the restrictive confines of the former denotation. I can only document this aspect of my career by indicating milestones that show where I was at a particular time, and the medical personalities whose influence might have been lighting my future path, but my success or failure (are the two ever separable for long?) must ultimately be left to my patients to judge.
Secondly, there is the spirit of enquiry, which attracted me to examine critically how I practiced medicine and this inevitably led me to research, and particularly to research into hypertension and the risks associated with heart attack and stroke. The currency of research is the dissemination of the endeavour of enquiry, which calls for presentation at international meetings and publication in specialist and general journals. This activity can be presented effectively on a website, and so the international and national scientific presentations together with over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals since the Blood Pressure Unit was founded in 1979 are presented. For those wishing to dig deeper publications are grouped according to subject and many are available as pdf files.
Another logical extension of enquiry, or so it seems to me, is a study of the past. By standing on the shoulders of earlier researchers we can view the pathways to the future. This realisation led me inevitably to study and write about the history of medicine. I have included, therefore, a section on my foray into this subject, which led me to write a number of papers and books. Again a website is ideally suited to not only to documenting these productions, but also to providing illustrative material on the past.
The presentation of communication in medicine, if I may call it such led me inevitably to the editorship of two journals – the Journal of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons (for two terms) and the Irish Medical Journal and probably to founding two presses – Black Cat Press and Anniversary Press – to publish what might be regarded by the establishment as somewhat esoteric works. Again a website allows me to archive the somewhat turbulent consequences of these activities.
Finally, it is my contention that medicine should not be divorced from the humanities, which can bring a sense of compassion and understanding to doctors distracted by the materialistic and technological demands of the present age. This activity removed me from science for some pleasant and rewarding years to the study of literature, in particular the writings of Samuel Beckett. It led moreover to a friendship, from which arose The Beckett Country. Again, a website allows me to share some of the results of this period of my career.
The House of Industry Hospitals 1772-1987. The Richmond, Whitworth and hardwicke (St. Laurences’s Hospital). A Closing Memoir. Edited by E.O’Brien, L.Browne, K.O’Malley. Anniversary Press. Dublin. 1988.
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