Carr, James Celestine (1933–2006), radiologist, was born 6 April 1933 in a nursing home at 12 Leeson Street, Dublin, to Christopher Carr, accountant, and his wife Margaret (née Groome), of Griffith Avenue, Drumcondra, Dublin. He attended Belvedere College, Dublin, before studying medicine at UCD (1951–7), graduating MB, B.Ch., and BAO (NUI). Carr completed his intern ('house') training at the Mater Misericordiae hospital in Dublin before departing for missionary work in South Korea with the Columban fathers in November 1959. He was one of two medics accompanying five St John of God brothers who opened a missionary hospital at Gwangju (Kwangju) in January 1960, and served as medical director before his departure in 1962.
He commenced his radiology training in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary (1963–6), where he became registrar, and qualified with a Diploma in Medical Radiology Diagnosis (DMRD; Eng., 1964). He was elected fellow of the Faculty of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR), and of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (FRAMI). After working in the Royal North Hospital, London, he returned to Dublin, and served as radiologist to the Bon Secours Hospital, Glasnevin (1966–9), and St Kevin's Hospital, Rialto. Made a fellow of the Faculty of Radiologists of the RCSI (1967), he joined the radiology department at the Richmond Hospital (St Laurence's) as a consultant (1969), while also serving as radiologist to the Dublin dental hospital and Our Lady's Hospital, Navan. This was, in his own words, 'the golden age of what is now called basic radiology' (Carr, 'The radiology dept', in O'Brien et al (1988), 223). His early research interests deployed emerging radiographic techniques in the examination of arterial function and damage, as he began to specialise in diagnostic radiology.
At the Richmond, Carr contributed to a forward-looking department, engaging and deploying cutting-edge imaging techniques and technologies. Doppler ultrasound was trialled in the early 1970s, adding to existing isotope imaging facilities set up in 1968, as Carr pioneered the deployment of interventional radiology and vascular imaging in Ireland, assessing and treating vascular and biliary disease, and addressing the diagnostic needs of gastroenterology.
Carr was at the centre of medical and administrative radiological advancements in Ireland in the final quarter of the twentieth century, as the discipline became increasingly important to the diagnosis, treatment and care of a wider variety of patients. A gifted diagnostic radiologist, he expanded into the emerging discipline of interventional radiology, focusing on the investigation and diagnosis of respiratory, gastrointestinal and vascular disease. As radiology began to incorporate a range of new diagnostic imaging technologies and techniques, Carr was at the forefront of promoting their adoption, leading the expansion of diagnostic clinical radiology in Ireland. He led the procurement and installation of the first CAT (computerised axial tomography, a singular technological and clinical advancement involving the combination of X-ray images to generate cross-sectional images of the body) scanner in Ireland, commissioned at the Richmond Hospital in 1977. Service there was made available on a national basis (1978), as were the hospital's ultrasound services (1979). By the 1980s, there were sixty-nine staff in the department providing ultrasound, CAT scanning, angiography and nuclear imaging services on a national basis. Carr was central to the transfer of CAT scan facilities and the radiological department in 1987 to the newly opened Beaumont Hospital (an amalgamation of the Richmond and Jervis hospitals) in Dublin, where he continued as a consultant. The expansion of services nationwide and transfer of the department to Beaumont demonstrated Carr's adept administrative capabilities.
Carr was active from 1970 in the Radiological Society of Ireland (successor to the Irish Nuclear Board), and served as its president (1979–82). He was a member of the Radiation Advisory Committee, established by the Nuclear Energy Board (precursor to the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland) and the Department of Health to advise on nuclear medical safety, and subsequently a member of the Medical Radiation Advisory Committee (1987–91). He was president of the radiological section of the RAMI (1980–84). A first-rate teacher, Carr served as senior lecturer in radiology and examiner in radiology for the fellowship examination of the Faculty of Radiologists of the RCSI (the national coordination and educational body for radiologists); he served for a decade on the board of the faculty, and was dean of the faculty (1985–7). Carr was crucial to the establishment of the faculty's training programme in Kuwait in the late 1980s, requiring close collaboration with the UK's Royal College of Radiologists to ensure reciprocal recognition of the curriculum, as the RCSI expanded overseas. President of the Biological Society of the RCSI, he also served on the RCSI's medical council, and was a member of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology and of the European Society of Radiology.
His career traversed the end of the first wave of pioneering radiological medicine before its deepening and development of new techniques, and embodies the expansion of disciplines into new diagnostic, imaging and instructional areas. Carr took a keen interest in Irish medical history, especially in the medical deployment of radiation, including the seminal work of William Haughton (qv). He edited A century of medical radiation in Ireland (1995), and was central to establishing an historical archive within the Faculty of Radiologists. With his wife, Imelda, whom he married 22 September 1962, he had two sons and one daughter. He spent much of his retirement in Carraroe, Co. Galway, and died in Bon Secours Hospital, Glasnevin, Dublin, 21 January 2006.