Dr. George Wiernik, who was consultant in clinical oncology at Oxford from 1965 to 1985, died on 25th February after a long illness, courageously borne. George came to England from Berlin, aged 7, in 1935. He qualified at St. Thomas's and also trained in radiotherapy there. He became interested in the oxygen effect, and took a major part in the early clinical trials of hyperbaric oxygen with Churchill-Davidson and others. On his move to Oxford as consultant, George had a part -time University appointment and energetically continued his research interests, publishing much on hyperbaric oxygen in the radiotherapy of pelvic cancers. With the support of the University, the NHS and outside funding, he established the Research Institute at the Churchill Hospital, which still flourishes. His animal work was mainly on pigs which were, in the early days, conveyed anaesthetised to the treatment machines after patients had gone home. The results of this work still form the basis of clinical knowledge of the radiobiology of the gut. He also took a leading part in the BIR working party trials on fractionation in laryngeal cancer, and after his retirement, which was a little early due to serious ill health, he carried out and published the final analysis of this work, co-ordinating final input from many departments in the country.
At the start of his time at Oxford, George Wiernik also played a critical role in establishing Sir Michael Sobell House as the first NHS funded hospice in the country. George fought hard for the things he believed in, and like others sometimes suffered reverses. His determination overcame most but not all of these. His conscientious care of his individual patients both endeared him to them, and marked him out as a compassionate and skilled clinician.