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3. Obituary



1941 – 2020


David King was a founder member of the Society of Vascular Technology of Great Britain and Ireland.

He worked tirelessly to introduce and improve the diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease for over fifty years.

Variously described as a ‘Gentleman Scientist’ and a ‘Maverick’, David was always enthusiastic and considerate to both colleagues and to the thousands of patients whom he measured in clinic. He particularly enjoyed the stories retold by older patients of their wartime and scientific experiences.


His enquiring mind and technical skills were put to good use with the creation of the Ultrasonic Angiology Research Group at Guys Hospital Medical School under the leadership of Dr (later Professor) Raymond Gosling ( .This started when Raymond and David returned from The University of West Indies, Jamaica, in 1967. Whilst there, they had been working on the causes of Atherosclerosis, which included using early CW Doppler ultrasound detectors. However, they also became accustomed to what Raymond called ‘Jamaica Time’, a highly personalised interpretation of timekeeping which both continued to use thereafter.


This research group was highly successful, with David initially developing instruments to assist research, including a hand-held turbulence detector, and a Transit Time device with Brian Coghlan. This early work also involved both human, animal, and in-vitro investigation into haemodynamics, from which many academic papers flowed including one in Nature, and in the creation of the ‘Pulsatility Index’. 


David also contributed significantly to the development of a whole range of novel instrumentation for clinical measurement and was instrumental in the setting up of a vascular laboratory within Guy’s Hospital to offer the non-invasive detection of peripheral vascular disease in 1977.  This service was much appreciated and with ever developing instrumentation attracted NHS support, becoming ‘Ultrasonic Angiology’. David transferred to NHS employ in 1991 when Professor Gosling retired.


He was generous and enjoyed a chat and a good night out. A memory has been related that he took a couple of trainees at King’s College Hospital out for an after meeting meal, paid for their meals and gave them a lift in his Mazda RX-8 rotary engine sports car. He said that he had to top up the oil with every new tank of petrol. It is an individualist’s car.

He was always enthusiastic about new ideas in blood flow measurement and imaging. He could be relied upon, completely unselfconsciously, to come up with challenging questions which delved into the details of a problem or scientific presentation. 


David independently developed a novel CW Doppler scanning device ‘QuickScan’. This drew a colour coded for velocity / Doppler shift arterial map onto a picture of the patient’s legs, and reduced the time needed for the investigation. This attracted commercial interest from Huntleigh Medical Ltd. 

He also branched out into clinical measurement at other hospitals, setting up a vascular lab with David Goss at the London Bridge Hospital in 1993. This was a  physiological measurement ‘old style’ vascular lab. He always enjoyed the fine selection of sandwiches the hospital provided at the set up meetings and they normally went for a pint afterwards.  By 1997 he felt able to leave Guy’s hospital 


Written by Graeme Taylor, David Goss & Dominic Foye