Rehabilitation Medicine
Designatory Letters: 
MB Cantab 1953, MA Cantab 1955, DphysMed 1959, MRCP Edin 1962, FRCP Edin 1975, FRCP London 1985

(Contributed by his wife Maryann Cochrane)

George was born in Buxton, the son of a GP and MoH, and from the age of six he was determined to be a doctor .Educated at Shrewsbury he studied medicine at King’s College Medical School, graduating in 1953. His consultant career began in Derby in 1962 and his pioneering initiatives led to the establishment of the first National Rehabilitation Demonstration Centre at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. With members of the former Institute for Consumer Ergonomics at Loughborough University he set up a bio-engineering laboratory to produce customised equipment such as individually moulded seating to support adults and children in their wheelchairs and one of the first driving assessment centres to support disabled people returning to driving.

In 1980 he moved to Mary Malborough at Oxford. The “ Lodge” was a 21-bed hospital unit where people of all ages with a severe disability came to find ways in which to learn to overcome some of their physical and social problems. To the benefit of the patients George established strong associations with specialist clinical units, his orthopaedic colleagues and Oxford University engineers. Thus he was able to make efficient, practical and compassionate plans for those who often were in a state of despair.

George believed that Rehabilitation Medicine could only develop its full capacity to help disabled people by separating from Rheumatology and developing as a specialty in its own right. With only a small handful of doctors in the field at the time this was a brave step to take but time has proved him right. George was remarkable; he saw clearly what needed to take place and pursued this aim quietly and courteously but with great determination until it was achieved. Twenty years later the British Society of Rehabilitation has over 300 members and remains the backbone for promoting training and standards of practice for rehabilitation medicine in the UK.

He is now remembered with the George Cochrane Elective Prize in Rehabilitation Medicine at King’s College Medical School, London, established in memory of his tireless efforts to awaken interest in disabled people towards restoring their independence and realising their ambitions as far as possible and to given them comfort. He was enthusiastic for rehabilitation, where many work together, drawing upon the skills of others, trying always to accomplish more.