Dame Rosalinde Hurley

Distinguished pathologist and medical administrator

Rosalinde Hurley had two distinguished careers: the first as an expert in infectious diseases, particularly those affecting pregnancy and childbirth, and then as chairman of the Medicines Commission and of related professional bodies concerned with medicines, infection, ethics, medical devices and pathology training.



Rosalinde Hurley, microbiologist: born London 30 December 1929; House Surgeon, Wembley Hospital 1955; House Phy sician, West London Hospital 1956; Senior House Officer, Charing Cross Hospital and Medical School 1956-57, Registrar 1957-58, Lecturer and Assistant Clinical Pathologist 1958-62; called to the Bar, Inner Temple 1958; MD 1962; Consultant Microbiologist, Queen Charlotte's Hospital 1963-95, Honorary Consultant 1995-2004; Professor of Microbiology, London University 1975-95 (Emeritus); chairman, Medicines Commission 1982-93; DBE 1988; married 1964 Peter Gortvai (deceased); died London 30 June 2004.



Rosalinde Hurley had two distinguished careers: the first as an expert in infectious diseases, particularly those affecting pregnancy and childbirth, and then as chairman of the Medicines Commission and of related professional bodies concerned with medicines, infection, ethics, medical devices and pathology training.

Underpinning this was her extraordinary training. Hurley was one of those rare people who seemed to find studying effortless, qualifying as a doctor and as a lawyer and obtaining a degree-level diploma in English literature at the same time and walking off with all the prizes. She was called to the Bar in 1958, and got her LLB while working the notoriously demanding rotas of a junior hospital doctor. She never practiced law, but the training made her an effective administrator, and she gave informal legal advice to the Royal College of Pathologists and elsewhere.

She was born in 1929 into a Catholic family - and indeed remained a devout Catholic all her life - and, when the Second World War began, was sent to live with a friend of her father in Massachusetts, where she was educated at the Academy of the Assumption, Wellesley Hills. She returned to London and to Queen's College, Harley Street, in 1948. She studied at Charing Cross Hospital Medical School and the Inns of Court, qualifying in medicine in 1955 and in law in 1956.

In her final year at medical school she won prizes in obstetrics, psychiatry, public health and hygiene, and forensic medicine. In 1956 she also was awarded the London University Diploma in English Literature, which is of degree-level standard.

She was awarded an MD in 1962 and passed the examination for Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists, which made her a fully qualified specialist. From 1958 she had been lecturer and assistant pathologist at Charing Cross Hospital and in 1963 she was appointed consultant pathologist at Queen Charlotte's, the famous maternity hospital in west London.

It was a small hospital with a tolerable workload, and she turned her research energies to bacterial, viral and fungal infections of pregnant woman and their babies, with a particular interest in the yeast Candida albicans. This was becoming common as an increasing number of mothers had immune systems that were depressed by transplants or by cancer treatment, and became commoner still when Aids appeared on the scene in the 1980s.

In 1973 Hurley was appointed Professor of Microbiology, a post she held alongside her clinical appointment for some 20 years. In 1979 she had, in addition, her first serious quasi-governmental appointment, on the Committee on Dental and Surgical Materials, becoming vice-chairman and then chairman. Her abilities were such at she was appointed chairman of the Medicines Commission from 1982 until 1983, and on the European Medicines Evaluation Agency which succeeded it.

The Medicines Commission, a small group of very distinguished people, and acted as a sort of "higher court" to the Medicines Control Agency. She was also a board member of the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS), which had recently created the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, a sort of meteorological office for infectious disease. It was for this work that she was appointed DBE in 1988.

During her time there she oversaw two major infections - an early outbreak of Legionnaire's disease in Stafford, and an outbreak of food poisoning at a geriatric hospital in Wakefield that killed 19 patients and cause acute illness in most of the other patients and staff. She also established and chaired an ethics committee at the PHLS.

This led to her chairing a Nuffield Council bioethics committee on human tissues, a role that used her expertise in law. She also served medicine in dozens of other ways: for the Association of Clinical Pathologists, the British Society for Mycopathology, the Royal Society of Medicine (she was President of the Pathology Section from 1979 to 1981). She chaired the academic board of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and served on the Council of the Royal College of Pathologists for 10 years, three of them as Vice-Chairman. She gave them legal advice on the storage of human tissue.

In 1964, around the time she became a consultant, she married the neurosurgeon Peter Gortvai, a neurosurgeon at St Bartholemew's and Romford hospitals. They had no children. In later life he suffered from heart disease but had the good fortune to survive a burst aneurysm, being in a cardiologist's waiting room at the time. He died about seven years ago.

Ros Hurley was approachable and universally liked by staff at every level. There was no "side" to her. Yet she was, it is said, a cat who walked by herself. Her spare-time interests were: law as it related to medicine: needlework "the cruder sort, like making curtains"; gardening and watching garden birds; listening to music, especially medieval; cooking, especially Hungarian; archaeology, especially Egyptology; and collecting modern original prints, especially Erté, Miro, Sutherland, Dali, Lowry, and Piper.

Caroline Richmond

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations should be regarded as an offensive act
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices