Lives of the fellows

Andrew Duncan

b.10 April 1850 d.18 October 1912
MD Lond FRCS(1877) FRCP(1907)

Andrew Duncan, the son of Dr. James Duncan, a well-known London practitioner, went to Highgate School and King’s College, London. He was an outstanding student, winning the Leathes prize, the senior scholarship and three gold medals. After qualifying in 1874, he received junior appointments at King’s College, Charing Cross and St. Mary’s Hospitals, as well as the Stanhope Street Dispensary and the Seamen’s Hospital. He also studied at Vienna, Strasbourg and Berlin and obtained the F.R.C.S. in 1877. A year later he denied himself the successful career as a consultant of which his qualifications gave promise, and entered the Bengal Medical Service as a surgeon. After passing out of Netley, where he won the Parkes medal, he was involved in the Afghan War of 1878-80 and seriously wounded at Charasiah. He served also in the Hazara campaign of 1891. But he received none of the important civil appointments normally granted to promising I.M.S. officers. It was commonly supposed that his advancement was hindered by his authorship of a paper entitled The Unsanitary Tendencies of State Sanitation (1885), in which he censured the chief sanitary authorities in India; this same paper, in expanded form, was better appreciated at home, where it was awarded the Parkes memorial prize in 1886 and appeared in book form under the title of The Prevention of Disease in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Campaigns in 1888.

Duncan retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1900 and thereafter practised in London. He was appointed physician to the Albert Dock branch of the Seamen’s Hospital and to the Westminster and Western General Dispensaries and lecturer on tropical medicine at the London School of Tropical Medicine and the Westminster Hospital. He published a Guide to Sick Nursing in the Tropics in 1908. He died in London, a man of courage, versatility and singular modesty.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1912; B.M.J., 1912; Lyle, 148; Plarr, i, 354; Roll of I.M.S., 195]

(Volume IV, page 483)

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