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Jack Insley

Born  1928
Died  2004

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British paediatrician, born 1928, St.Malo, France; died October 24, 2004.

Biography of Jack Insley

Jack Insley was born in France to an English father and French mother. At the age of seven, speaking no English, he was sent to boarding preparatory school in England with his brother ted. This was such a traumatic experience that he did not speak for a year.

His family ran a business in St. Malo exporting potatoes to England. When potato imports into England was stopped because of the Colorado beetle, his parents relocated to Lincolnshire to continue market gardening. When war broke out, Jack and Ted were sent to Ellesmere College in Shropshire. On leaving school, his three years of national service were spent at Lossiemouth, where he worked as a naval radio mechanic.

Jack Insley received his medical training at Clare College, Cambridge, and the Westminster Hospital, London, qualifying in 1956. He subsequently trained in paediatrics and clinical genetics, and in 1967 he was consultant to Birmingham Children’s and Maternity hospitals. Here he is particularly remembered for co-establishing the regional genetic counselling and amniotic fluid diagnostic services, developing the regional newborn intensive care unit at Birmingham Maternity Hospital, and co-establishing a clinic for children with arthritis.

Jack left the National Health Service in 1991 to work as a consultant clinical geneticist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

Insley loved his native French culture and language, and was active in the Friends of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. He was very widely read and adored classical music. His retirement years were tragically marred by an attack of encephalitis in 2000, from which he never fully recovered, although his intellectual capacity and drive were not affected. He died peacefully from heart failure. He left a wife, Anne; two children; and four grandchildren.

Jack Insley edited three editions of Paediatric Vade-Mecum, which had a worldwide circulation.

    The above information was found in BMJ on the www:

  • Catherine Insley and Jillian Mann:
    Jack Insley. A pioneer of subspecialisation in paediatrics.
    BMJ, London, March 5, 2005, 330 (7490): 542.


  • Janice A. Porter, Sarah Bundey and Jack Insley
    The response of blind and partially sighted teenagers to genetic counselling: first study in the West Midlands.
    British Journal of Visual Impairment, 1989, 7 (1): 7-10.

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