Obituary: Professor Michael Garraway, 72

Mike Garraway's pioneering spirit burned brightly. Picture: contributed
Mike Garraway's pioneering spirit burned brightly. Picture: contributed
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A DOCTOR who pioneered specialist care for stroke patients has died.

Professor Michael Garraway, known as Mike, was born in Dumfries in January 1942 and educated in Dumfries and Carlisle before going to Edinburgh University, where he studied medicine from 1960 to 1966.

His lifelong interest in medical politics began at that stage and he was elected president of the British Medical Students’ Association.

Following house officer posts in hospitals in Edinburgh and a brief period in general practice in Cumbria, he was awarded a Department of Health fellowship to study epidemiology and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

He was subsequently appointed lecturer in community medicine at Edinburgh University and, after a year at the Mayo Clinic in the United States, was promoted in 1978, on the recommendation of Professor Sir John Brotherston, to senior lecturer.

Many patients who now make a good recovery following a stroke will be unaware that their return to normal life is due in part to the pioneering research of Prof Garraway.

From 1983 to 1997 as head of community medicine, he undertook a major revitalisation of the department involving a huge expansion in research and teaching. He relished in the political intrigue and competition for resources.

During his tenure, numbers of staff increased from 20 to nearly 100, postgraduate students from six to more than 60, and annual research income from £100,000 to £2.3 million.

This was coupled with his insightful vision that the department would benefit from relocation from isolated accommodation in the Usher Institute in Warrender Park Road to renovated facilities in Edinburgh University Medical School.

His early research on stroke units and day care surgery was exemplary in demonstrating how high-quality trials could be carried out in the clinical setting.

Others have pursued this approach but few with the attention to detail and the objectivity upon which Prof Garraway insisted.

He was Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Royal College of General Practitioners, and the UK Faculty of Public Health.

He was adviser to the World Health Organisation, National Institutes of Health (USA), Medical Research Council, and other research bodies in the UK.

From 1976 to 1995 he gave more than 200 presentations to symposia, scientific meetings, and institutions in more than 20 countries.

Health problems were taking their toll and he retired at 55.

He continued to work part-time on behalf of the university, carrying out studies of rugby injuries for the Scottish Rugby Union.

He died at home in Fortrose earlier this month.