Emeritus Professor Edward Osmund Royle Reynolds

James Spence Medallist

Date of death: 24 April 2017

Year James Spence Medal awarded: 1994

Professor Os Reynolds qualified from St Thomas' Hospital and spent three years in the medical unit and paediatric wards of St Thomas’. It was here he learnt to take arterial samples and measure blood gases, leading to him publishing three papers in the BMJ and Journal of Paediatrics.

He went to Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston, the Harvard Medical School and, briefly, Yale University to investigate pathogenesis of hyaline membrane disease in lambs before returning to University College Hospital to help Professor Leonard Strang establish a unit to study the lungs of the fetal and neonatal. This led to a series of reports on the pathophysiology of the developing lung and the adjustments which occur at birth.

Professor Reynolds became lecturer in paediatrics and, after becoming a member of the Royal College, senior lecturer and honorary consultant. He was involved in the introduction of new techniques intended to improve the survival of newborns, especially those with respiratory failure. He was appointed professor of neonatal medicine and he and his colleagues continued to follow infants under their care to see if there was anything further that might be done to protect the developing brain. This research led to a series of papers regarding the value of techniques such as ultrasound imaging, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and near infrared spectroscopy in determining the development and response to injury of the infant brain after birth.

He lectured in the UK and internationally, acted as specialist adviser to the House of Commons Health Select Committee, was elected President of the Neonatal Society, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Professor Reynolds received the James Spence Medal due to his contribution to ensuring the intact survival of vulnerable infants. His lifetime research and writing informed many and allowed him to collaborate with those in other disciplines.