Dr Joseph Rintoul Esplen

Personal Details 

Dr Joseph Rintoul Esplen FFARCS MRCS LRCP DA

16/09/1912 to 08/10/1974

Place of birth: Maghull, Liverpool

Nationality: British

Known as: Joe

CRN: 723645


Education and qualifications

General education

Liverpool University Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

DA(RCP&S), 1939

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Royal Army Medical Corps 1939-1945: he served as Malaria Officer in the North African desert. After demobilisation he was employed in junior anaesthetic posts, mainly in the Northern Hospital, Liverpool. Next he was appointed consultant anaesthetist in the North West Regional Thoracic Surgical Services, in which post he remained until his retirement. His considerable experience in the Poliomyelitis Unit of Fazakerley Hospital led to an invitation to advise on the management of over 300 patients requiring manual artificial ventilation during the 1952 epidemic in Copenhagen. On coming back to Britain, he became a pioneer in management of paralysed patients by positive pressure ventilation.


Other biographical information

Born into an engineering family, Joe Esplen was mechanically minded with a proclivity to apply this to anaesthesia: he invented the simple but practically effective Fazakerley and Aintree respirators. Both these and an advanced negative pressure ventilator were described in his publications. He was a devoted and indefatigable physician. Declining health led to his official retirement several years before his death (aged 62) , but he served as a locum until shortly before his passing.

Author and Sources

Author: A. Anthony Gilbertson

Sources: British Medical Journal 1974 (26 October); II: 234.