Dr Judith Darmady, OBE, one of the Swinfen Charitable Trust’s earliest and most prominent paediatric consultants has died of Covid-19 on April 13, 2020, aged 84.
Her most significant achievements were in one of Romania’s infamous orphanages for the “incurables”. Dr Darmady was first invited to the Ungureni orphanage north of Bucharest after the fall of the Ceausescu dictatorship in 1989. More than 100,000 children had been abandoned after Ceausescu had taxed childless couples and banned contraception and abortion. The huge mass of abandoned children who failed perfunctory tests at the age of three were deemed incurable and hidden away.
After taking a six-month sabbatical from the NHS to go to Romania in 1990, she knew that something bigger was needed and established the Ungureni Trust to pay for British clinical staff to help Romanian children and their carers.
Judith Mary Darmady qualified at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, in 1961, “Dr D”, as she became known to patients and parents alike. In 1972 she became a consultant at Basingstoke Hospital, where she stayed for 23-years and acquired extensive expertise in a wide range of conditions, including cancers, cystic fibrosis, and disability. Her concern for childhood sexual abuse prompted the development of special services in Hampshire. In 1996 she became a fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
In 2012 she was runner-up for The Times/Sternberg Active Life Award honouring the achievement of individuals above the age of 70 who have excelled in any field with a focus on charity endeavours. She continued her charity work tirelessly until last year.
Judith Mary Darmady (b 1935; q London 1961; OBE, MRCS Eng, LRCP Lond, DCH Eng, FRCP Lond, FRCPCH), died from covid-19 on 13 April 2020
Source: The Times, The BMJ and Basingstoke Gazette