Obituary for Prof. Helen M. L. Carty

European Radiology, Jul 2017

Adrian K. Dixon

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Obituary for Prof. Helen M. L. Carty

Obituary for Prof. Helen M. L. Carty Adrian K. Dixon 0 0 Department of Radiology, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital , 8 Alwyne Road, CB1 8RR Cambridge , UK 1 Adrian K. Dixon - Helen, like her husband Austin, was very knowledgeable about WB Yeats’ work. In Yeats’ play, Cathleen ni Houlihan, an old retainer sings: ‘They shall be remembered for ever, They shall be alive for ever, They shall be speaking for ever, The people shall hear them for ever.’ That perfectly sums up Helen, still to be fondly remembered and appreciated by doctors around the world for many a year. Prof. Helen M. L. Carty Helen Carty (nee Moloney) was born in 1944 in Dungarvan, Ireland. The family moved to Dun Laoghaire, just outside Dublin in 1957. Bright at school and formidable on the tennis court (a schoolgirl international), Helen entered the Medical School at University College Dublin in 1961. In 1965, on her first day on the ward she first met her husbandto-be Austin, allocated by fate to be her House Surgeon. The fire lit slowly and they married in September 1967. Meanwhile, Helen graduated in June 1967 with an honours degree and an impressive collection of prizes and awards in Medicine, Obstetrics and Surgery. Her pre-registration year was worked at the Mater Hospital where she moved up the ranks to serve as Medical Tutor from 1968 to 1971. Having decided on a career in Radiology, she secured a registrar post at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1971 and completed her training in Liverpool, securing a consultant radiologist post in 1975 shared between Broadgreen and Alder Hey Children’s Hospitals. Along the way she obtained FRCR and MRCPI, to become FRCPI in 1981. Helen loved the immediacy of paediatric practice and the active ‘real-time’ involvement of the radiologist in so much of it. She soon forsook the adult sector, and went whole-time to Alder Hey where she became Director of Radiological Services in 1977, a post which she held until 2004. Few people have been Head of a Department of Radiology for 27 years, but Helen was no ordinary radiologist! In 1996 the University of Liverpool created a Chair of Paediatric Radiology and invited her to apply. She was duly appointed to the first such Chair in UK, which she held with great distinction. Helen had broad interests within Paediatric Radiology and introduced many new interventional procedures. She had outstanding knowledge and expertise in the radiology of nonaccidental injuries. As a recognised international expert in child abuse she was in great demand, both as a lecturer and as an expert witness. It was no rumour that some barristers were more in awe of Helen than either their opposing barrister or the judge! She was fortunate to be in Radiology at the time of unprecedented development of ultrasound, CT and MR. In 1985, there seemed no prospect of NHS funding for a CT scanner on site at Alder Hey. So she led a fund raising campaign to get one. There were no big donors, just the proceeds of two Mersey Marathons and a campaign across pubs and clubs. She adapted these new techniques for paediatric use, showing the way for others, nationally and internationally. She became closely involved in Europe through the European Society of Radiology in Vienna. She made many teaching forays into the emerging Eastern Bloc countries. She gave strong support to the burgeoning European Congress of Radiology (ECR) and became its President in 2004, a fitting culmination of her lifetime’s work. During her career, Helen worked with numerous health organisations in the UK. She was Adviser in Radiology to the Chief Medical Officer, Deputy Chairman of the Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee (ARSAC) and President of the Liverpool Medical Institution. She also served the Royal College of Radiologists as an examiner, a member of Council and finally as Warden. Helen examined, lectured and advised in many countries, significantly helping develop paediatric radiological services worldwide. Humbly she claimed to have learnt at least as much as she taught during these international missions. Honorary awards were bestowed upon Helen thick and fast, with highlights being awards of Honorary Membership/Fellowship of the European Society of Paediatric Radiology, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the Gold Medal of the European Society of Radiology She published extensively on many aspects of Paediatric Radiology, with articles in peer-reviewed journals and contributions to journals and books. She was joint editor of the highly acclaimed two-volume textbook, Imaging Children, and several other paediatric radiology textbooks. On a personal front, she and Austin established a fine tradition of hospitality in their large Victorian house. The weekend of the Grand National Horse Steeplechase was always given over to welcoming their children’s friends. One year, a total of 32 slept there in conditions of dubious comfort but all were well fed and watered. She had an uncanny knack of choosing Grand National winners. This continued to the last: she had One for Arthur backed the week before she died. She had a huge range of hobbies —wood carving and turning; salmon fishing, bird watching, photography, nature in all its aspects, reading, art but, above all, being with her friends and their children. She was appointed Deputy Lieutenant in 2006 and High Sheriff for the year 2011–2012. This was a memorable experience not only for the County but also her family and friends. Sadly her health deteriorated in the last couple of years and cardiac complications set in before she died on 23 April 2017. Helen, ‘you shall be remembered for ever’. Adrian K Dixon – with grateful thanks to Austin Carty


This is a preview of a remote PDF: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00330-017-4916-7.pdf

Adrian K. Dixon. Obituary for Prof. Helen M. L. Carty, European Radiology, 2017, 1-2, DOI: 10.1007/s00330-017-4916-7