A Thumbnail Autobiography

I was born and brought up in England, went to Oxford University as an Undergraduate and Clinical Medical student, and spent a further 2 1/2 years doing various pre- and post-Registration House Jobs in that country before emigrating to the United States in 1977. I trained in Anesthesiology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, in New York City, and stayed on there for a year as an Attending before moving (in 1982) to the University of Connecticut Health Center. After six years there as an academic teacher and researcher, I moved again to the outskirts of Philadelphia, PA, to become the Director of the Anesthesia Department at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

Having become increasingly disillusioned with the US Health Care Industry, and the system that it had created, I returned to England in the spring of 1996, to become an Anæsthetic Consultant at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, Cambs. That position ultimately allowed me to maintain a part-time clinical presence while also using using my IT knowledge and skills for the benefit of the Trust and the wider NHS. In 2007, my wife was offered a university teaching job in Illinois that was perfect for her, and after winding up my job and our affairs in England, I joined her there towards the end of that year. I am currently retired from full-time medical practice, and no longer hold a Medical License. Since I am now living in the United States, I have (according to the British GMC's current rules) had to apply for Voluntary Erasure from the UK Medical Register to avoid paying their increasingly onerous fees.

I quite enjoyed Mathematics at school, but had no significant exposure to computers or computing until I got to Columbia Presbyterian. After starting to "play with" a Wang microcomputer which was kept in the on-call area there, I was rapidly bitten by the computing and programming "bugs", and learned to program and use the Prime and DEC mini-computers which the Department was then purchasing for its research and administration. When I arrived, the Department was keeping records of all its cases on punched cards. I earned the undying gratitude of the secretarial staff whose job it had been to punch and check the cards, by writing (in Prime Fortran) and implementing a system which allowed the same data to be entered on CRT terminals and stored on tape, together with a reporting package which actually allowed the Department's Chairman to know what his staff and Residents were doing (clinically, at least) in something approaching real time. At the same time, I was writing research data-acquisition and control software in Fortran and Assembler for DEC machines, running RT-11 (one of MS-DOS's remoter ancestors).

When I moved to the University of Connecticut, I continued to program administrative and research applications for Prime and DEC minicomputer systems, but I also became involved with desktop computers, progressing from programming an Apple II+ in Applesoft Basic and 6502 Assembler (I wrote one of the earliest published communications utilities with file download capability for the II+) to programming MS-DOS systems in various languages, including BASIC, Forth, C, and 80x86 Assembler. I was the author of HDTEST, a disk test utility for early hard disks, which was the first such to permit read/write low-level testing of a data-containing disk without data loss, and of a number of less significant Shareware and Freeware utilities.

In recent years, I have been doing less general programming than previously, but I have continued to be actively interested and involved in the application of computer technologies to both the clinical practice and the "business" of anaesthesia. This interest led me to participate in many of Microsoft's "open" OS beta-tests, as well as in various beta programs, open and closed, run by a number of other software vendors. More recently, I developed a number of UK and US Charities' web sites, and was, for some years, the webmaster and membership database developer and manager for the England and Wales and North Central US Lieutenancies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. I have operated a small Computer Consulting business under a number of noms de guerre over the years, of which the latest is Arrowflight Data Services.