Dr Dermod MacCarthy

James Spence Medallist

Date of death: 12 July 1986

Year James Spence Medal awarded: 1982

Dermod MacCarthy decided to become a paediatrician while studying at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. After serving in the Royal Navy and returning to Great Ormond Street, he was appointed consultant paediatrician covering the Buckinghamshire area, including Stoke Mandeville Hospital which had no established paediatric unit. He created an active and clinically reliable unit, and contributed papers on common disturbances in childhood and growth in deprived children.

Dr MacCarthy was heavily influenced by James Spence’s teachings, especially mother and child relationships, and encouraged family contact.  In Aylesbury, he introduced Spence’s policy of mothers accompanying their infants, which was difficult at a time when visiting hours were firmly restricted.

His pioneering for facilities in children’s hospital and influence on younger paediatricians led to him being high commended for the award.