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Biographical entry Kreibich, David Neil (1960 - 1997)

MRCS and FRCS 1989; MB BS Newcastle 1984.

11 July 1997
Orthopaedic surgeon


David Kreibich was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne. He was born in Manchester in 1960. He was unusually short, and was given a course of treatment with human pituitary growth hormone, at that time extracted from cadavers, even though (as it transpired) there had already been warnings that this product might be contaminated.

He studied medicine in Newcastle, where he qualified in 1984. He did his junior posts in Newcastle and Sheffield, and then specialised in orthopaedics. He went on to London, Ontario, on a fellowship to study joint replacement. He was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1995.

Sadly, shortly after he took up his consultant position he became aware of the first symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which rapidly worsened, obliged him to stop operating, and led to his death on 11 July 1997 leaving his widow Liz, who had been a nurse, daughter Anna, and two sons, William and Robert. His family were awarded £1.4 million in damages by the High Court, to be paid by the Department of Health, which had continued to permit the use of human pituitary extracts after warnings had been received about its possible contamination.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1997 315 1470, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England