Herbert Barrie (9 October 1927 – 20 March 2017), was a consultant paediatrician and a leading figure in neonatology. He was a pioneer in the emerging specialty of paediatrics and neonatal medicine; and he developed one of the first neonatal intensive care units in London.
In 1959 he was appointed as a senior registrar, then five years later as a senior lecturer, at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. It was here that he developed a profound interest in the care of premature infants. This was a time of rapid medical advances, particularly in respiratory support, that were at last making the survival of premature newborn babies a reality. Barrie pioneered advances in resuscitation of the newborn, publishing his seminal paper on the subject in The Lancet in 1963.
One of the concerns at this time was the worry that using high pressures of oxygen could be damaging to newborn lungs. Barrie developed an underwater safety valve in the oxygen circuit. The tubes were originally made of rubber, but these had the potential to cause irritation to sensitive newborn tracheas: Barrie switched to plastic, which was fashioned from a pre-cut roll and so had an inherent curvature. This plastic tube, based on his design, was known as the ‘St Thomas’s tube’.
In 1966 Barrie was appointed consultant paediatrician to Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham. At Charing Cross, Barrie continued his ground-breaking and pioneering work in the care of the preterm infant. He ran a renowned department and built his special care baby unit (SCBU): this neonatal unit became a hot bed of innovation and expertise.
At Charing Cross Hospital, Barrie was in charge of the paediatric research laboratory – here he conducted research into neonatal respiratory physiology and intensive care. He raised funds for an ambulance that could collect babies requiring intensive care from other hospitals and bring them back to Charing Cross; this was the first - and at the time the only - dedicated neonatal ambulance in the country. He was made head of the department of child health in 1983.
Barrie was an early member of the British Paediatric Association, which was to become the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He was a founder member of the Neonatal Society and the British Association of Perinatal Medicine.
Putting Tiny Patients First , a book edited and compiled by his son, describing Herbert Barrie's early life and his time in paediatrics, was released in 2018.
- "Putting Tiny Patients First - Troubador Book Publishing". www.troubador.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (June 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- "Dr Herbert Barrie". YouTube. 25 March 2017.
- Watts, Geoff (2017). "Herbert Barrie". The Lancet. 389 (10086): 2282. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31500-3.
- "Dr Herbert Barrie, Obituary". The Times. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
- "Dr Herbert Barrie, inspirational paediatrician – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
- Barrie, Michael (2017). "Herbert Barrie". BMJ: j2187. doi:10.1136/bmj.j2187.
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