Obituary: Dr Brian Chapman, 56

Dr Brian Chapman helped modernise geriatric care in the Capital

Dr Brian Chapman helped modernise geriatric care in the Capital

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One of the Capital’s most dedicated medical professionals, Dr Brian Chapman, has died following a long battle with cancer.

Brian, 56, was a geriatrician and general physician who made an outstanding contribution to the development of hospital services for frail older people in Edinburgh.

Born in the city in 1956, he was educated at Daniel Stewart’s and Melville College, where he developed a passion for rugby union that was to remain with him for the rest of his life.

After becoming Dux in 1975, he chose to study medicine at Edinburgh University Medical School, graduating with both an Honours BSc in biochemistry and his medical degree of MBChB.

In his undergraduate years he met Dorothy, a fellow medical student, and they became engaged while on elective together in South Africa.

They married shortly after their graduation.

Brian’s postgraduate training began in 1981 at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he was to spend the majority of his professional career.

Brian was appointed as a consultant and senior lecturer in geriatric medicine to the old Royal Infirmary in 1989, initially as the sole consultant for the specialist in-patient service there.

At the time there were only 16 beds available for the care of frail, older patients, and doubts existed in the minds of some of the more traditional physicians of the day about the value of or need for a specialist geriatric medicine service.

However, through a combination of clinical excellence, effective leadership and persistent, calm and reasoned negotiation with others, Brian ensured that the service developed dramatically – such that when the Royal Infirmary relocated to the Little France campus in 2002, the geriatric medicine and stroke unit opened as the largest in-patient speciality unit, with more than 100 beds and seven consultants.

Family life was of tremendous importance to him.

Until his death, Brian remained a constant source of support to his mother, June, and brother, Paul.

He and Dorothy, who were to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this year, raised three children, Andrew, Fiona and Gavin, all of whom followed in their parents’ footsteps to study medicine.

Diagnosed with carcinoma of the kidney in 2006, Brian faced his illness with a level of courage and dignity that moved all who knew him.

Paying tribute to Brian, friend and colleague, Dr Andrew Elder said: “He will be deeply missed by his many colleagues in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond, but leaves behind a substantial legacy of many new young consultants who were directly influenced by him.”