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Edward James Moran Campbell

Born 1925-08-31
Died 2004-04-12

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British physician, born August 31, 1925; died April 12, 2004.

Biography of Edward James Moran Campbell

Edward James Moran Campbell was the son of a Yorkshire family physician. He obtained his medical degree at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London in 1950, and that year accepted an invitation to the newly created post of lecturer in physiological medicine at the hospital. The topic of his PhD thesis was the respiratory muscles and the mechanics of breathing.

In the late 1950s Campbell spent a year at the Johns Hopkins University with Dr. Richard Riley, the foremost researcher in pulmonary gas exchange and then returned to the professorial medical unit at the Middlesex. There he studied respiratory failure in patients with chronic bronchitis and emphysema and developed rational approaches for their management.

Campbell invented a simplified John Burdon Sanderson Haldane's (1892-1964) gas analyser with which clinicians in the remotest hospitals could assess the ventilatory status of patients and manage them rationally. His studies highlighted the need to administer oxygen in controlled concentrations, but there being no simple method of doing so, he invented the Ventimask. This is a mask into which a jet of pure oxygen is delivered using a precisely machined nozzle; this led to a reduction in pressure surrounding the jet (the Venturi effect), which thereby drew in room air through holes in the neck of the mask, precisely diluting the oxygen to achieve a small increase in concentration. The "Ventimask" has remained the standard of care ever since.

By 1968 Campbell was the most chair-worthy clinical academic in the United Kingdom without a chair. That year the selection committee of the new medical school at McMaster University at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was seeking their first chairman of medicine. They offered Campbell the chair as a founding father of their new medical faculty, and he rapidly became a major figure as R Samuel McLoughlin professor of medicine, developing a department of medicine of the highest calibre.

His first area of responsibility was to have the revolutionary school accepted by the local medical community, and he is known for setting up the excellent and close relationship now shared by McMaster and its affiliated hospitals Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Moran Campbell was a man of great intellect and an outstanding educator, being especially effective in Socratic teaching. He was the master of the telling phrase and could be very critical: for example, of research that he considered more technological than thoughtful

Outside of medicine, Campbell's interests were wide and varied. He loved literature and music, sports, and cottage vacations. A lifelong cyclist, he lobbied hard and successfully for cycle paths in and around Hamilton. He could not have achieved or accomplished what he did without the dedicated and loving support of Diana, his wife of 49 years, and their four children, Fiona, Susie, Robert, and Jessica. He became a professor emeritus in 1991 and died in 2004.

Edward James Moran Campbell was an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

    "if a project's not worth doing, it's not worth doing well"

    "Doctors in intensive care units would do better if they were less intense and more careful"


We thank Professor M.C.F. Pain for correcting our original entry.

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