Former William Withering Professor of Medicine and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Birmingham (b 1935; q Guy’s Hospital 1959; MD, FRCP, FMedSci), died from complications of prostatic cancer on 10 April 2014.
After junior appointments at several London hospitals, Michael Langman became a member of the scientific staff of the Medical Research Council’s statistical and gastroenterological research units, where he worked alongside Richard (later Sir Richard) Doll, studying, among other diseases, the epidemiology of peptic ulcer.
In 1968 he was appointed senior lecturer in medicine at the University of Nottingham’s medical school and, in 1974, professor of therapeutics in Nottingham. In 1986 he was appointed to the prestigious William Withering chair of medicine and headship of the Department of Medicine at Birmingham University’s School of Medicine.
Michael was highly regarded by clinical colleagues and also by scientists.
His research interests included the pathogenesis and epidemiology of colorectal cancer, drug induced gastrointestinal adverse reactions, and the benefits and risks of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
In addition to onerous academic and clinical duties, Michael served on several important Department of Health committees. These included the Committee on Safety of Medicines, the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals (of which he was chairman), and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), also as chairman. His chairmanship of the JCVI coincided with the controversy surrounding the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and resulted in much unwelcome media attention.
After retiring he was chairman of the South Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust.
Michael Langman was a ‘”man of many parts”— physician, epidemiologist, clinical pharmacologist, scientist, teacher, university and health service administrator, and national legislator. His quiet humility masked many of his talents and achievements.
He was an accomplished squash and tennis player and continued to play tennis even after bilateral knee joint replacements.
He leaves a wife, Rosemary, and four children.