Advancing paediatric surgery through education and research

Professor David Allden Lloyd obituary

Professor David Allden Lloyd, 1940 -2024

President of BAPS 2000 -2002

Alder Hey Hospital Children’s, Liverpool

David Allden Lloyd was born on May 11th 1940 in Paulpietersburg, a small town in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa. His grandfather, John, and his father Mervyn both served as the local doctor in his rural childhood home of Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal, instilling in David not only a commitment to medicine, but also a deep sense of duty and of community which stayed with him throughout his life.

In 1958 he came to England to study medicine at King’s College, Cambridge, achieving an Honours degree in Natural Sciences before completing his clinical studies at St Bartholomew’s Hospital (following in the footsteps of his father) in 1964. After pre-registration House Officer posts at Barts and in Norwich – and possibly drawn by his Welsh family roots – he undertook an SHO post in Cardiff. It was here a life-long passion for Welsh rugby was born during frequent trips to Cardiff Arms Park, with the soaring pre-match anthems and a mutual antipathy towards the English team bringing back memories of his homeland.

In 1969, he returned to South Africa, taking up a general surgical registrar post at the Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, before moving to Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital where he scrubbed in with Christiaan Barnard on the some of the world’s first human heart transplants. In his subsequent registrar post in Paediatric Surgery at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital, he met his future English wife Carol, fresh from the three-week boat journey to Cape Town, who was working there as a nurse and midwife. He became a Fellow of the College of Surgeons of South Africa in 1971.

He briefly returned to England in 1974, completing a further eighteen months in general surgery and passing his FRCS Eng., before taking the post of Senior Surgeon in the Department of General Surgery at the Ladysmith Provincial Hospital, South Africa, and then in 1977 undertaking a similar post in the Department of Paediatric Surgery at the King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban. He wrote his MChir. in 1979 on the subject of colonic interposition and events following massive small bowel resection.

He would have happily remained in South Africa for the rest of his professional life, but the deep societal divisions of the Apartheid-era presented a constant challenge. When an invitation arrived from Professor Mark Rowe to join him as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatric Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he took the difficult decision to leave his beloved homeland, arriving in the USA with his young family in September 1982.

He passed FRCS (Canada) in 1986 and FACS in 1988 prior to returning to England in 1989 for the final time to succeed Jimmy Lister as the Departmental Professor of Paediatric Surgery at the University of Liverpool, with an honorary post as a Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. At the time, his new colleagues in the Department of Paediatric Surgery at Alder Hey were all nearing retirement. In his new role he quickly set about rebuilding the Department, appointing a group of talented young surgeons, but also crucially engendering a powerful sense of teamwork and comradery, ensuring all were able to make significant contributions both clinically and in other relevant fields, whether it be academic, education & training, or clinical management.

He had a similarly keen eye for talent spotting in building his research group; through his mentorship his Research Fellows, Lecturers and Senior Lecturers have gone on to make significant contributions, with many going on to be appointed to prestigious Paediatric Surgical Chairs in London, Helsinki, Toronto, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Liverpool amongst others. In the end he published over 100 peer reviewed publications, with interests ranging from nutrition and metabolism in the surgical newborn; pulmonary pathophysiology in congenital diaphragmatic hernia; trauma prevention and management; the cellular basis of Hirschsprung’s Disease and the surgical oncology of childhood. He was active within the Association of Professors of Surgery in the UK, the Surgical Research Society and the UK Children’s Cancer Study Group, and had numerous appointments as a Visiting Professor to well-known academic institutions around the world, including the Children’s Hospital in Boston, and delivered many guest lectures, including the Stephen Gans Lecture at the AAP in 1996, and the Professor J.H. Louw Lecture in Cape Town in 1998.

David was made an Honorary Member of both the AAP (Surgical Section) and APSA in 1989, and of the Indian Association of Paediatric Surgeons in 1995, to whom he also delivered a Guest Lecture in his role as BAPS President in 2000.

David always embraced the full spectrum of professional life in all the institutions at which he worked, whether it be in the spheres of clinical management, education & training, or academic management, serving as Chair of both the Board of Clinical Studies, and the Faculty of Medicine in Liverpool, and at Alder Hey he was both an Associate Medical Director, and a non- Executive Board Director.

He was passionate about the training of young surgeons at local and national level. He was both Chairman and Program Director of the Specialist Training and Education Committee for Paediatric Surgery, NW Consortium; and sat on the SAC for Paediatric Surgery. He was one of the first to be installed on the Court of Examiners for the newly inaugurated Intercollegiate Speciality Examination in Paediatric Surgery; a role to which he brought a typically exacting, but always fair, sensibility.
He took great pride in successfully leading the organisation of the 1999 BAPS Congress in Liverpool and became its president in 2000-2. The award of the Denis Browne Gold Medal followed his retirement in 2004.

As BAPS president he set out two main goals, the success of which were a source of great pride in subsequent years. The first was to raise the profile of childhood trauma, both its prevention and treatment, which resulted in the formation of the BAPS Trauma Committee. The second was to recognise the large international membership of BAPS, and to address their expectations and needs, particularly those from developing countries. This work continues through the BAPS International Affairs Committee which organises the International Forum meeting at the BAPS International Congress, with informal parallel sessions for young overseas surgeons to present their work, as well as the awarding of Greenwood Fellowships and the Greenwood Lecture. The latter were made possible by generous donations from Hugh Greenwood, a local businessman and philanthropist from Liverpool, who via patient and gentle persuasion from David agreed to set up the Children’s Research Fund. An initial £10,000 donation was used to send a young surgeon from Uganda, John Sekabira, to Durban to work under Larry Hadley for a year. The success of this venture persuaded Mr Greenwood to underwrite many further such International Fellowships through BAPS, to a total of more than £150,000.

In retirement, David continued his philanthropic international work through the Waterloo Partnership, which helps with practical aid to the community in Sierra Leone, and via trips to Gaza to help train young paedatric surgeons there.

There is no doubt that David was a tough taskmaster, but this was driven by his constant striving for excellence in all he did. He would, however, always be prepared to listen to alternative points of view which could at times lead to robust discussions at meetings, and ward rounds. He never bore grudges, and any disagreements were soon forgotten. He made life-long friendships, and often enjoyed a beer whilst watching rugby at Waterloo RUFC, his local club. He was an active rower for many years, was a keen bird-watcher (particularly when the opportunity arose to return to his native South Africa) and philatelist, holding a collection of thousands of carefully curated stamps from his childhood.
Indeed, David never lost his deep-rooted love of his homeland, and would often reminisce about the Drakensburg mountains where he had spent many hours walking and climbing, and at one stage even working with the local helicopter mountain rescue team in his younger days. He returned frequently on visits, and his eldest daughter, Megan, now lives in Cape Town. Although a proud Liverpudlian for the last 35 years of life, the fact that he was never able to return to South Africa professionally was a source of some regret in later years.

David enjoyed good health for most of his life, until diagnosed with a myelodysplastic syndrome in February 2024. He died peacefully at home on Thursday 2nd May 2024 surrounded by his wife Carol, and his four children Megan, Kate, David (a Paediatric Cardiologist in London) and Christopher.

Rick Turnock & David Lloyd Jr.

Curated by Mark Davenport

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