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Dr Patricia Tippett.

Malcolm Needs

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It is with immense regret that I have to say that I learned yesterday that Dr Patricia Tippett died at the age of 93 on 1st August 2023.

I first met Pat in the early 1970's, when I was a callow youth who had just left school and was working at the IBGRL when it was in Gatliff Road in London (when Dr Kenneth Goldsmith was the Director) and Pat was working in the opposite building in the MRC Blood Group Unit, then under Drs Rob Race and Ruth Sanger.

Pat is probably most famous for her work on the Rh Blood Group System, including categorising the then know Partial D types and for realising that the RH genes were twofold; namely RHD and RHCE.

She was. of course, one of the greats, but was as friendly to this callow youth as I started out in the profession, as she was to everyone who were already greats within the field.

May she rest in peace.

Patricia Tippett.JPG

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50 minutes ago, John C. Staley said:

Malcolm, you appear to have know all the greats.  I had the honor of meeting a few  of them over the years and it's sad to witness the passing of an era of such amazing discoveries.

Well, the thing is John, when I first left school, I started to work as a VERY, VERY junior member of staff at the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory when it was in London.  At that time Dr Kenneth Goldsmith was the Director, but others working there were Dr Carolyn Giles, Dr Elizabeth (Jan) Ikin, and a VERY young Joyce Poole.  Across the carpark was the MRC Blood Group Unit, run by Drs Rob Race and Ruth Sanger, where Dr Patricia Tippett worked, along with Geoff Daniels, for a while Christine Lomas (before she went to the USA and became Christine Lomas-Francis) and, for a short time, Dr Marcela Contreras (before she became a Dame and a Professor).  Just up the corridor was another set of laboratories run by Profs Walter Morgan and Winifred Watkins (and the janitor was one Sid Smith - after whom the SID Blood Group System was named).

As you can imagine, with all those "NAMES" working in such a small area of London, it was like a magnet for all of the other world's greats to come and visit (I even met Dr Arthur Mourant and Dr Philip Levine on visits).

With all these people, ALL of whom were amazingly helpful to even me, as someone who had just left school, what else could I do but fall deeply in love with the profession, and count my blessings from day one until I retired 43 years later.  I have been one lucky man.

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In my interactions, Patricia was a grand lady. So very kind to new talent and so gracious with her peers. I have some of the letters that she and Dr. Polly Crawford exchanged over the years regarding interesting cases and personal life happenings. They had a unique friendship! And, I have a talk at AABB in Nashville where I used a quote from her 1962 publication (!!) regarding anti-D in D+ patients with a negative DAT as missing a part of the D antigen, what we now identify with molecular methods as partial RHD. How absolutely thrilling that must have been to see new techniques prove and go further with historic theories. An excellent scientist, she is missed. Sandy Nance

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