Keith Brown was born in Wallasey, Lancashire, where his father was a medically qualified dental surgeon. He was educated at Wallasey Grammar School and the University of Liverpool. His long association and love for Walton Hospital started when he was a student and discovered the wealth of clinical material it had to offer, and he encouraged friends to accompany him to staff teaching sessions. He was appointed house physician in 1956. He subsequently served at the Whiston, the David Lewis Northern Hospitals, and on the professorial unit at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. In 1965 he became senior registrar at Broadgreen Hospital, and was appointed consultant physician to the Walton in 1968.
At that time the Walton Hospital was an outlying hospital whose existence was hardly recognized at the centre. Over the next 20 years the hospital gained in stature and this was largely due to Keith’s own efforts. He had a reputation as an able and inspiring teacher, and he was delighted when teaching firms were established at the hospital in 1974. He became the second clinical sub-dean shortly afterwards. Over four years he established undergraduate teaching in the hospital and then, characteristically, resigned because he thought new blood was needed. The structure he developed has remained largely unchanged.
Keith was a superb clinician. His practice was founded on sound general medicine and common sense. His ability to calm and comfort was limitless, and generations of junior doctors sought his guidance and advice. He never sought personal advancement, yet his ability and ease with people ensured that he became a major influence on medicine in Liverpool. He was regional adviser for the College, and chairman of the board of faculty of the university. He was also appointed admissions sub-dean for the faculty of medicine, but was unable to take up this post owing to illness. The appointment which gave him most pleasure was that of president of the Liverpool Medical Institution. He died during his term of tenure, but managed to give an erudite inaugural talk, and presided over the annual dinner with joy and humour.
Keith said his main interest, outside medicine, was golf - but in fact it was people. It was his love of people that illuminated both his professional and private life. Although diffident by nature he was also gregarious and struck an immediate rapport with people regardless of age or status. He married Gwyneth Carrington, daughter of a colliery manager, in 1954, and they had a son and a daughter, Roly and Laura. His happy and supportive home life provided a solid base for his many achievements.
Sir Robert Williams
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
[Brit.med.J., 1988,296,1339; Lancet, 1988,1.1061]