History of Dialysis in the UK: c. 1950-1980

History of Dialysis in the UK: c. 1950-1980

Dialysis, the first technological substitution for organ function, is significant not only for the numbers of patients who have benefited. It contributed to the emergence of the field of medical ethics and the development of the nurse specialist, and transformed the relationship between physicians and patients by allowing patients to control their treatment.
This seminar drew on participants’ recollections of dialysis from the early, practically experimental days after the Second World War, when resources for research were scant, until the 1980s when it had become an established treatment. Pioneers from the first UK dialysis units recalled the creation of the specialty of nephrology amid discouragement from renal physicians and the MRC, which felt that the artificial kidney was a gadget that would not last.
International and interdisciplinary collaborations, and interactions between with industry and clinics in developing and utilising the specialist technology were emphasized. Patients, carers, nurses, technicians and doctors reminisced about their experiences of home dialysis, its complications and impact on family life, as well as the physical effects of surviving on long-term dialysis before transplantation became routine.

The meeting was suggested and chaired by Dr John Turney and witnesses include Dr Rosemarie Baillod, Professor Christopher Blagg, Professor Stewart Cameron, Mr Eric Collins, Professor Robin Eady, Mrs Diana Garratt, Professor David Kerr, Professor Sir Netar Mallick, Dr Frank Marsh, Dr Jean Northover, Dr Chisholm Ogg, Dr Margaret Platts, Dr Stanley Rosen and Professor Stanley Shaldon. Two appendices contain reminiscences from Professor Kenneth Lowe and Sir Graham Bull.

Introduction by Professor John Pickstone, 148pp, 2 appendices, 15 figures, biographical notes, references, and index.

Crowther S M, Reynolds L A, Tansey E M. (eds) (2009) History of dialysis in the UK: c. 1950–2000, Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, vol. 37. London: The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL.
ISBN 978 085484 1226