Lives of the fellows

Joseph Edward Debono

b.1 May 1903 d.17 August 1974
CBE(1959) MD Malta(1925) MRCS LRCP(1926) MRCP(1935) FRCP(1948)

Joseph Edward Debono was born in Malta where his father was Professor of Natural History in the University of Malta. He graduated MD from the University of Malta in 1925, and took the Conjoint Diploma in 1926. In addition to general practice and various hospital posts he took part in research on the epidemiology and immunology of brucellosis. He took the MRCP examination in 1935, and in 1936 he became Professor of Pharmacology in the University of Malta. During the war he was in charge of one of the Medical Districts into which the island was divided, and helped to devise the very stringent rationing system that had to be introduced.

He became Professor of Medicine in the University of Malta in 1946, and was elected FRCP in 1948. He was involved in some of the earliest clinical trials of tetracyclines in the treatment of brucellosis, but of even greater satisfaction to him was the drastic reduction in the number of new cases of brucellosis which followed the introduction of compulsory pasteurisation for all milk offered for sale. He was to a large extent personally responsible for this measure.

He was awarded the CBE in 1959, and retired from his university post in 1963. He then set about creating a central Diabetes Clinic for the Maltese Islands. He retired as director of this Clinic in 1973, and at the time of his death he was engaged in preparing the data accumulated for publication. He continued to work in private practice until the end. He married Cora Cassar in 1929, but she died in childbirth the next year. In 1931 he married Josephine Bums, who survives him. He had one daughter and four sons, three of whom are medically qualified.

David de Bono

(Volume VI, page 145)

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