Lives of the fellows

James William Fawcett

b.16 January 1920 d.14 November 1997
MB BChir Cantab(1943) MRCP(1948) MD(1953) FRCP(1968)

James Fawcett was a consultant physician in the Thames area. He was born in the north west tribal territories in India to an RAMC family; his grandfather had been a general, an assistant director of the RAMC, and his father was a colonel. After qualifying at the London Hospital in 1943 he also saw service in the RAMC, eventually serving in India. He was discharged with the rank of major. After posts at the London, Brompton and Hammersmith Hospitals, he was appointed as a consultant physician to the South Essex Hospitals and King George Hospital, Ilford, in 1954, but eventually gave up the South Essex commitment and was consultant physician to King George and Barking Hospitals from 1967 until he retired.

He was postgraduate tutor at King George from the inception of the post until his retirement. James wished to establish a centre for postgraduate education but was told that there was no funding available. He therefore committed a large amount of his own time fund-raising sufficient capital to build the original centre behind the old King George Hospital, at which time half the cost was provided by the North East Thames Regional Board. The balance of the funds he had helped collect was used to establish a trust fund for the postgraduate centre which was subsequently named the James Fawcett Education Centre in his memory.

During his years as a consultant James was renowned for his dislike of pomposity and bureaucracy and what one of us named his ‘tangential thought processes’, a higher form a lateral thinking! He consistently left those with a slower mind and wit far behind. James had a phenomenal memory which delighted his patients as he asked after various relatives and facets of their lives.

As well as being very much involved in caring for his patients, James Fawcett was untiring in his help and support of young doctors and was undoubtedly instrumental in helping the careers of a great many junior staff, following them through until they achieved consultant status and never failing to give wise and helpful advice. Certainly nowadays he would be called a mentor.

He married Barbara in 1947 and they had three children. She died in 1977. He married a second time in 1979, to Josephine Verdoes, a doctor.

Joy Edelman
Donald Woodgate

(Volume X, page 136)

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