Monday, September 7, 2009

Mr. Wilfrid Bruce Davis, MBE

This Gold Medal programme is launched to honour Mr. Wilfrid Bruce Davis, MBE. He has supported many palliative care projects in India including the construction of the Institute of Palliative Medicine at Kozhikode.
Mr. Bruce Davis was born in 1925 into a mining engineering family, eventually becoming managing director of Davis Derby, the Company founded by his great- great grandfather in 1779... For well over a century India has been a market for the supply of Davis mining equipment including many thousands of flame safety lamps of the type invented by Humphry Davy for use in gaseous atmospheres.
In 1967, following the deaths of a close friend and his mother from cancer, he founded the W.B.Davis Charitable Trust. At that time there was virtually no proper pain relief, other than the so-called ‘Brompton Cocktail’ of drugs, or palliative care as such in the UK and he determined to do what he could to alter that state of affairs. In 1974, the Trust began work in earnest.
From very small beginnings, in 1979 the Trust built up a team of Macmillan nurses in Cornwall and also Marie Curie nurses who visited cancer patients in their own homes. In 1982, the Trust founded a small Hospice in the West of Cornwall, St Julia’s, named after Bruce’s mother. This was mainly staffed by nuns of the Sisters of the Cross of Liege.
The Charity first worked Overseas in the 1980’s, starting in Hong Kong, from where nurses funded by it were trained in palliative care, both at St Julia’s and at Dame Cicely Saunder’s Hospice, St Christophers. That pioneering work flourished with the help of the then Hong Kong Government. The project became too large for the Trust to carry to the building stage, when their work was taken on by Macmillan, the Bradbury Trust and others resulting in the establishment of the Bradbury Hospice in Shatin.
Projects commenced in India in the mid-90’s and mainly centred on Kozhikode when the Trust was put in touch with a vital, forward-looking, team running the Pain & Palliative Care Society there. It was then decided to fund the building of what is now the Insitute of Palliative Medicne with the Savitri Waney Charitable Trust providing funds for the internal furnishing. The initial thrust to start many related initiatives like physiotherapy home care programmes, children’s palliative care programmes, rehabilitation programmes, support programmes for patients with renal failure etc. came from the Trust. The Trust has also played a major part in the building of a Hospice in Vellore and continues to help existing and novel ideas in many parts of India including Palliative Care Society, Guwahati and Pallium India, Thiruvananthapuram.
Mr. Bruce has contributed immensely to the palliative care programmes in India. As Founder of the Trust, Mr. Brucecarries out all the day-to-day running of the Trust without clerical support, though in constant touch with 3 Trustees and a Medical Advisor.
His work also includes support of kidney dialysis patients and the disabled generally both in the UK and India.
He was awarded the MBE in 1992 for his services to charity by the Queen.
Mr. Bruce Davis lives in Feock, Cornwall, UK and always keeps a close association with palliative care programmes in India. His hobbies are sailing, flying and gliding sports which still form part of his life.
Institute of Palliative Medicine has initiated the Gold Medal in 2005 in his honour. We hope this programme will help to improve awareness about palliative care among junior doctors in India.


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