Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Dr John Edward Galway, MD MB BCh BAO BAgr (died 6 May 2012)

Published by the Portadown Times

A FORMER hospital consultant, who brought the first and only diving recompression chamber to Northern Ireland, has died peacefully after a long period of illness.

Dr John Edgar Galway, who was born in 1936, enjoyed a very distinguished career as a consultant anaesthetist at Craigavon Area Hospital; he worked in the Intensive Care Unit and, with a colleague, set up the Pain Clinic.

He introduced the first recompression chamber to the province. Located at Craigavon Area Hospital, it is still the only one in Northern Ireland and treats divers who have suffered the ‘bends’ or decompression sickness.

Dr Galway, who lived in Derryhale, also played an active role in his local community, setting up Derryhale Residents’ Association which he chaired for many years, and taking great pride in maintaining the area and cultivating a community spirit.

Born in Belfast, he moved to a farm in Comber when he was four years old. He attended Cabin Hill Prep School in Belfast and then moved on to Campbell College where he excelled at rugby, twice earning a place in the School’s Cup final team.

In 1955 he went to Greenmount Agricultural College and then on to Queen’s University Belfast where he graduated in Agriculture. Having initially thought he was not clever enough to study medicine as he had no Latin, he subsequently found out he did not require the subject and successfully applied to study medicine.

He began his degree in 1959 at Queen’s University, Belfast and graduated in 1965. Following several years of study and work in the Royal Victoria Hospital and Belfast City Hospital in anaesthetics he applied for a consultant’s post in the new Craigavon Area Hospital.

During his time as a medical student he met his future wife Norma, who was a nurse in the Royal Victoria Hospital. They married in the little church in Queen’s University in December 1964 and moved to Portadown in 1972.

Dr Galway, a father of two, had many interests including running, windsurfing, scuba diving and squash although his true love went back to his roots in agriculture as he was an exceptional gardener.

A ‘Renaissance man’, he was able to turn his hand to anything from anaesthetics to building patios and wood stores.
He took a great interest in local affairs and, as well as setting up the local residents’ association, he was heavily involved in various charities.

Dr Galway died peacefully at home after an extended period of illness. He is survived by Norma, his wife of over 46 years, and his children Neil and Kim.



Back to list




Top of Page