Brian Junor, MD
January 10, 2019
Brian James Ross Junor was a consultant nephrologist in the Renal and Transplant Unit at Glasgow's Western Infirmary. After house jobs in Dundee he moved to train in nephrology in Aberdeen, where he completed his MD thesis on the use of alfacalcidol in renal osteodystrophy. He spent a year in Melbourne before taking up a consultant post in 1979 in Glasgow. He spent the rest of his career in the Renal and Transplant Unit at the Western Infirmary, until his retirement in 2011.
A considerate and skilled clinician, Brian was an early proponent of patient representation in medical organisations. His interest in renal bone disease continued, as its interaction with aluminium toxicity was unravelled. He initiated CAPD in Glasgow, then stopped an early outbreak of sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, by establishing that the peritoneum was being damaged by a chlorhexidine solution used as antiseptic. With a strong clinical focus on transplantation, he argued consistently for minimisation of immunosuppressive drug therapy to reduce long-term complications, in particular neoplasia.
Brian was always interested in new technologies and keen to incorporate them into clinical care. He swiftly adopted real-time ultrasound for renal biopsy; unlike his colleagues, he learned the purpose of every button on the scanner. He brought computing to the Western Infirmary Renal Unit and remained an active member of the British Renal Computing Group. With a firm belief in the value to patients of collective data, he established the Scottish Renal Registry, and led comparative audit and peer review. He did not forget the patients; he sought their views and tried to address their concerns about the renal service.
Brian also saw the importance of regulation of specialty training. In addition to chairing the nephrology section of the Joint Committee for Higher Medical Training of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, he sought to maintain standards throughout Europe through the Union of European Medical Specialists. In 1993, he was instrumental in bringing to Glasgow for the first time the annual joint meeting of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association and the European Dialysis and Transplant Nurses' Association. This was a great professional success; his family's memory of the meeting is of a sea of tartan conference bags taking over the loft above their garage.
Brian was an unassuming man with an unremitting work ethic. He was invariably polite, but unafraid to stand his ground, particularly if he felt patients' interests were threatened. He was kind and supportive to patients and all groups of staff. Quiet at times in public, in private he had a deft sense of humour. A proud alumnus of Dundee High School and a talented all-rounder who played cricket for Aberdeenshire, Brian was happiest in his garden or garage. His first wife, Sheena, died in a road traffic accident in 1972. In 1979 he married Liz; they had two children, who survive him, along with his partner, Freda.
Brian died suddenly from ischaemic heart disease on 10 January 2019.
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