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BMJ. 2007 May 12; 334(7601): 1011.
PMCID: PMC1867869

William Keith Campbell Morgan

Keith Morgan was one of a notable cohort of British physicians who migrated to North America in the early years of the NHS and made a lasting impact on the worldwide development of respiratory medicine. His reputation rested on three foundations: his clinical skills, his leadership of research into occupational lung disease, and his sometimes acerbic wit. Through his career he was a staunch campaigner for English grammar and style, and he welcomed a series of British fellows, who learnt their respiratory medicine from him.

After early years in Baltimore, during which his most famous paper, “The rape of the phallus,” successfully antagonised surgeons who made a living from circumcision, he went to head the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Lung Disease of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, setting up a major research programme into pneumoconioses. Opinions were polarised about the effects of coal dust on the lung, and his forthright opinions did not always sit well with political or trade union views. Nevertheless, his laboratory and his book on occupational lung diseases had achieved great influence before he moved to the chair of respiratory medicine in the University of Western Ontario. There he continued as teacher, researcher, and clinician, serving as president of the Canadian Thoracic Society and later chief of staff at the University Hospital in London, Ontario.

His wife, Barbara, predeceased him. He is survived by his three children.


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