Lives of the fellows

Paul Henderson Davison

b.2 October 1915 d.18 October 1991
BSc Birm(1936) MRCS LRCP(1939) MB ChB(1939) MRCP(1947) MD(1950) FRCP(1958)

Paul Davison was born into a Birmingham family which embraced both medicine and the law; his father was the city coroner. He was educated at King Edward’s High School, Birmingham, and then at Birmingham University where he enjoyed a brilliant undergraduate career. In common with many of his contemporaries, his early professional life was interrupted by the second world war. He was commissioned into the RAMC and saw service in several theatres of war including the Middle East, North Africa and Italy. For more than two years he served with the King’s Dragoon Guard, an armoured car formation which was continually in action from the second battle of Alamein to the invasion of Italy. His outstanding work while on active service led to a mention in despatches. During the six years of his military service he also worked at the Native Hospital, Lobatsi, in the Bechuanaland protectorate, and during 1941-42 he had the organization of a 50-bedded native hospital in Basutoland.

He returned to civilian life and resumed his professional career in Birmingham. Paul had already gained a first class honours degree in physiology in 1936 and his physiological interests took him into the rapidly expanding specialty of cardiology, in which he was to carve a distinguished career. His interest was in the haemodynamic and radiological assessment of cardiac disease. He became greatly involved in much of the early cardiac catheterization work in Melville Arnott’s department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was indeed pivotal in its development.

He was largely responsible for the growth of a modern cardiological investigative service within the teaching hospitals of Birmingham, where he worked first at the General Hospital and later at the Queen Elizabeth. He continued to master new clinical skills, never being prepared to adopt the mantle of a less active senior colleague, until the end of his professional career. He was a private, even solitary man who distrusted committee life and probably also those who pursued it, but he shouldered his measure of responsibility in administrative matters with characteristic efficiency. His rather bluff professional exterior quickly melted in the presence of patients, who regarded him with considerable respect and affection.

Outside his professional and family life, Paul’s great passion was fishing. In his early days he was an expert salmon fisherman, who once landed a 351b cock salmon on the Wye, but in later years he turned his attention to the subtleties of trout fishing with the Midland Fly Fishers. He was a much valued member of that organization, bringing to their activities all the physical energy, skill and determination that marked his professional life. He would have found chronic ill health intolerable and his final illness was mercifully short. He first married Mary Paul, daughter of a market gardener, and they had three children - a son and two daughters. He was survived by his second wife, Joyce, and his three children.

B Pentecost

[Brit.med.J., 1992,304,772-73]

(Volume IX, page 123)

<< Back to List