Obituary: Giuseppe Pampiglione

Giuseppe Pampiglione, physician, born Rome 1 December 1919, Lecturer Maudsley Hospital 1951-56, Physician-in-Charge Department of Clinical Neurophysiology Hospital for Sick Children Great Ormond Street 1957-84, married 1955 Sara Morgan (two sons, one daughter), died London 23 February 1993.

GIUSEPPE PAMPIGLIONE, founder of the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology at the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street, London, inspired a whole generation of doctors and electroencephalogram (EEG) technologists.

'Pep' Pampiglione had already laid the foundations of a distinguished medical career before he came to the United Kingdom in 1948. The son of a doctor, he graduated MD cum laude from the University of Rome in 1942, and obtained the Diploma in Neurology at the University of Bologna in 1948; he also spent periods of study in France. As a young doctor, he fought against Fascism, but rarely alluded to his experiences.

Although Pampiglione's initial interests were in the pathology of the nervous system, he soon became fascinated by the study of its electrical function (EEG/clinical neurophysiology), a rapidly developing field at that time. It was his interest that brought him to the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, at Queen Square in London, on a British Council Travelling Fellowship.

He extended the scope of the speciality in Britain as a lecturer in Clinical Neurophysiology at the Maudsley Hospital (from 1951), where, in collaboration with the neurosurgeon Murray Falconer, he recorded activity directly from the surface of the brain during operations for epilepsy, a field which is now undergoing a renaissance. He also worked part-time at the Charing Cross and Royal Free Hospitals, but his major international reputation was made after he moved in 1957 to the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street, where he founded the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology.

At that time relatively little was known about the development of cerebral function in children, and Pampiglione organised systematic EEG recordings on normal children at different ages, often carrying these out in nursery schools. In addition to making observations on rare diseases which are still widely quoted, he took an interest in the possible effects of common childhood illnesses on the brain. He stressed the importance of recording the EEG at the bedside of the acutely ill child, and initiated work in the intensive care unit and operating theatre which continues in many centres to the present day.

His interests in the developing brain led him to use non-invasive recordings to study normal maturation in animals and also to investigate how nutritional deficiencies might affect brain development. As a result of these interests, he served two terms as President of Comparative Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine. Other academic distinctions included visiting professorships in Europe and North America, and membership of the French and American EEG societies. He was Vice-President of the International Federation of Societies of EEG and Clinical Neurophysiology between 1957 and 1965. A particularly active supporter of the (British) EEG Society, serving as its Foreign Secretary and President, he was very proud of the Honorary Membership bestowed on him by the society on his retirement.

Pampiglione's department became a leading international centre for paediatric neurophysiology, attracting young doctors from every part of the world. Those who came to work there did not always find him an easy master, though most looked back on their time in his department with gratitude and affection. He was uncompromising in his drive to establish professional standards in all aspects of his speciality, and either convened or served on many important national and international committees which addressed these topics. His foresight and initiative led to the formation of the Association of British Clinical Neurophysiologists, on which he served as President. He was a founder member of the Biological Engineering Society, formed to encourage cross-disciplinary links between different specialists, and served as its Treasurer.

To the families of patients who came to see him, indeed to anyone in trouble, he was unfailingly kind, and showed a concern about patients' welfare which went far beyond the bounds of his own speciality. His love of children was seen in his approach to his young patients, and he could captivate the frightened and the fractious with consummate ease. He took a quiet pride in the achievements of his own children, one of whom has also become a doctor.

'Pep' retained a Mediterranean zest for life, shown in his appreciation of, and expertise in, fine food and wine. Many of his friends and colleagues across the world will long remember hospitable evenings at his home with his wife, Sara.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine