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Richard Turner-Warwick - a tribute

Monday 28 Sep 2020 {{NI.ViewCount}} Views {{NI.ViewCount}} Views

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We are sad to report the passing of Richard Turner-Warwick on the 20th of September 2020.

Richard Turner Warwick is one of the founder members of the ICS and is quite literally, a father of reconstructive urology, both nationally and internationally. He was a great supporter and regular attendee at ICS meetings in the early years.

Richard was Head of the Urology Department at the Middlesex Hospital in London. He was a superb technical surgeon making difficult procedures look easy. He was creative in developing new surgical techniques, particularly in relation to urethral reconstruction. There was a steady stream of visitors to the Unit from all over the world.

He stimulated research into functional aspects of clinical conditions with considerable energy and established Research Fellowships in the Clinical Urodynamic Unit at the Middlesex Hospital in London. Together with radiologist Graham (Buck) Whiteside the Unit encouraged several young urologists and gynaecologists who did further clinical research. The unit attracted many international visitors. Richard published many papers and edited several books.

The first Urology Research Fellow was Patrick Bates(1969-1971), who was followed by Ted Arnold (1971-1973) and subsequently David Farrar (1973-1975), Chris Booth, Julian Shah, Roger Kirby, Helen Parkhouse, Chris Chapple, and several others.

Gynaecology Research Fellows at the Unit included Alan Brown (1972-1973), and John Osborne (1973-1975) David Farrar recalls “An invitation to show some pressure/flow video recordings to the Queen Mother when she came to open new facilities in the Neurological Department caused some consternation as Buck insisted we shouldn’t show HRH video’s of males voiding although we did point out she was unlikely to notice. Eventually a sequence of female patients where the commentary was felt appropriate for Royal ears was located and her Majesty was suitably interested.”

Eric Glen wrote: “He was a strong and highly significant supporter and active participant in all aspects of the ICS, including its formation. He took an active part in many of its meetings with stimulating and entertaining contributions.”

His emphasis on the need to agree terminology will be remembered by all who know him, by his reference to a quotation from Alice in wonderland in Through the Looking Glass by Louis Carroll. “When I use a word”, Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less”. “The question is” said Alice “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master- that’s all.” His emphasis on understanding underlying pathophysiology spurred him on to be instrumental in the development and popularisation of video-urodynamics. The difficulty of making an accurate diagnosis from symptoms alone is epitomized by the phrase he coined- ‘the bladder is an unreliable witness’.

A full obituary and tribute will follow.

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