London – Westminster

    Home / Units / London – Westminster

London – Westminster

By Michael Bending. From John Hopewell’s collection of Renal Unit histories.

I came down from Cambridge to Westminster Medical School in 1966 and in my first clinical attachment. I was assigned to Prof. M.D.Milne FRS FRCP, and his then lecturer in medicine, Lavinia Loughridge. Roy Calne was then performing renal transplants in the Gordon Hospital, Vauxhall Bridge Road, which was a satellite hospital in the Westminster group with a very strong surgical tradition. Ronald Raven was senior surgeon on the firm with Stanley Aylett pioneering ileo-rectal anastomosis in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

The contribution of Malcolm Milne to renal medicine is a curious one. He was outstanding as a researcher in that specialty. He had been appointed joint director of the renal unit at Hammersmith, alongside Eric Bywaters, but took little interest in the use of the artificial kidney which was being pioneered there, chiefly by AM Joekes and Eric Bywaters. In line with the majority of physicians with an interest in kidney disease, he thought little of the prospects of the artificial kidney in the treatment of renal failure. Nevertheless, on appointment to the Chair of Medicine at Westminster he enlisted Lavinia Loughridge as lecturer, and she became one of the pioneers of dialysis in the UK.

After serving on the surgical firm at the Gordon Hospital, I was attached to Mr Duncan Forrest in the Westminster Children’s Hospital. At that time he was pioneering the immediate closure of meningo-myelocoeles for spinal bifida. Many of his surviving patients remained under the care of the Carshalton Hospital for Children and they then presented to me as a consultant nephrologist, 30 years later for dialysis and transplantation.

I had returned to Westminster Hospital and Medical School as lecturer in medicine in 1976, again on the medical unit under Milne and Lavinia Loughridge. At that time the unit was performing single figure renal transplants each year and the renal unit was limited to 6 dialysis stations for patients waiting transplantation which had been started there by Prof. Sir) Roy Calne in 1962 The renal transplant surgeons at Westminster at that time were Michael Naunton Morgan and Kingsley Robinson. Dialysis at Westminster failed to flourish in the 1970s unit was finally closed by the Department of Health in 1981, just a year before I was appointed as second nephrologist at St. Helier Hospital, Carshalton by Dr Anthony Eisinger.

Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by John Feehally