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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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 People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there