Ross Taylor lived by the words: “Treat your patients as you would wish members of your own family to be treated and you will not go far wrong”. Such philosophy beautifully illustrates the kind of man Ross Taylor was; a brilliant mind with a kind heart who was committed to his work and patients welfare. It was from this dedication that The Transplant Patients Trust of Great Britain was founded by Ross in 1991 and continues in his memory today.
Born in 1932 to George Ross and Helen Baillie Murray, Ross came from a strong family of medical professionals. His Grandfather, Father and three Uncles were all medical practitioners before him. Ross himself became a pioneer of kidney transplants and an advocate for improving transplant recipient’s quality of life both within and without the theatre room.
Ross began his inspiring career at University of Glasgow, from which he graduated in 1956. A man of recognition form very early, he was awarded the Mastership of Surgery and fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (1964 and 1965).
His achievements far from stopped there but continued to grow in esteem. In 1976 he was part of the team that completed the first kidney transplant in North of England. Hard working and truly dedicated, Ross completed over 2000 kidney transplants, arguably the most notable of which took place in 1990 when he performed four renal transplants in a mere 24 hours.
A man of great influence and respect, Ross was President of the British Transplantation Society from 1986 to 1989, of the North of England Surgical Society from 1990 to 1991, the UK Transplant Multi-Organ Sharing Group from 1987 to 1990, and was Chairman of the British Transplantation Society Transplant training committee from 1986 to 1993. Ross used his voice on these boards to campaign for the implementation of “required request”, legislation of which holds emergency room doctors accountable for broaching the subject for organ donations to grieving families. He was also closely involved in drafting the Human Organ Transplant Act, making the commercialisation of human tissue illegal.
With his evident expertise and encouraging nature, it is no surprise that Ross was renowned as a gifted trainer. His influence can still be seen in the medical world today with many of his trainees continuing to practice his methods. Adding to his credit, no less than five of his trainees became leaders of major transplant centres in the UK. It is clear he inspired many, including all of us at the Transplants Patients Trust.
Ross’s charitable nature reached far beyond The Transplant Patients Trust. While under his chairmanship the Northern Counties Kidney Research Fund was responsible for funding a new transplant unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. A man of action and example, Ross took the lead with fundraising; at the age of 50 he took up distance running, completing four marathons as well as taking part in the Great North Run thirteen times. These generous acts alone raised over £500,000 for the fund.
As chairman of the Transplant Games for fifteen years, Ross combined his love of sport and passion for patient care. He took great pride in guiding the organisation that celebrates transplant recipients’ return to normal life though the annual three day festival.
Ross was a shining example of both success and humanity. His passion for his work and dedication to his patients quality of life allowed him to achieve all he did including being awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, six years after founding the Transplant Patients Trust.
It is from his guidance and kind hearted nature that we are we now able to provide recipients and their families with much needed financial support. He continues to touch the lives of many through The Transplant Patients Trust of Great Britain and we are proud to continue to honour his legacy.