Obituary: Professor Ronald W. F. Campbell

Article excerpt

RONALD W. F. Campbell's life and work had an enormous impact on modern cardiology. His contributions to cardiac science and the policies and politics of health care were in full flow at the time of his death, and it is sad that his research must now be left to others to complete.

Ronnie Campbell's schooldays were spent in Scotland, and Edinburgh was his medical school. As a student, he stood out as a young man of great promise, carrying off the Murdoch Brown Medal in Clinical Medicine. This was the first of many awards and distinctions that came his way. By 1984, aged only 38, he was a fellow of both the Edinburgh and London Colleges of Physicians, he had won the Young Investigator's Prize of the British Cardiac Society and had been awarded the Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship of the Medical Research Council.

Early medical appointments were held in Edinburgh, where he developed a strong and abiding interest in cardiology, acute coronary care and cardiac rhythm disturbances. In 1975 a spell at Duke University, North Carolina, introduced Campbell to cardiac electrophysiology, a clinical technique that was just developing. The larger part of his career was spent at Newcastle University, where he rose through the ranks from research fellow to Professor of Clinical Cardiology and Head of the Department of Cardiology.

Campbell held visiting professorships at many universities, edited numerous journals, and was made a member of many professional societies at home and abroad. But of all his prizes and awards, his best-loved were the many important and fascinating lectures that he gave. He was a wonderful, humorous and original speaker who held the attention of all and moulded the opinions of many. Amongst the eponymous lectures that he gave, the one that he and we most enjoyed was the first Leonard N. Horowitz Memorial Lecture in 1993: "Laughing and Crying: electrophysiology and its champions".

As a clinical scientist Campbell pursued a wide range of research interests in the field of cardiac arrhythmia (disorders of heart rhythm). …