Lives of the fellows

Isabella Croall Ferguson

b.8 November 1927 d.16 January 1995
MB ChB Glasg( 1951) DCH(1954) Dobst RCOG(1954) FRFPS(1957) MRCP Edin( 1960) FRCP Glasg(1970) FRCP(1980)

Isabel Ferguson was a consultant paediatrician at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow. Born in Glasgow, Isabel was educated at Jordanhill College School and Glasgow University, where she graduated in 1951. During her career Isabel worked as a general practitioner in Kent, at various hospitals in Glasgow and at the Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria. From 1963 until 1966 she was a lecturer in paediatrics and child health at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. She had a particular interest in hypoglycaemia of the new-born and published several articles in the Archives of Disease of Childhood and the British Medical Journal.

In the 1970s Isabel established a protocol for the care of ill neonates and sick children, standardizing practice in an innovative, instructive and accountable fashion. Her extensive knowledge and clinical expertise made her a first class physician. Isabel was a perfectionist, dedicated to the point of being available at all times day and night for consultation over and above the call of duty. A constant teacher by word and example Isabel practised her craft of medicine. Colleagues and relatives saw and depended on her thorough understanding of people and grasp of situations. She brought the same characteristics to her many long standing friendships. One of these, Joyce Ritchie, recalls some of Isabel's other fascinating qualities. She was, for example, a wonderful housekeeper but not a good housewife, she liked being looked after. She was an amazing gardener and produced haute cuisine dishes. She loved sailing and cruising, gambled a little (but only on the Grand National) and was a very good card player.

Isabel was perceptive and understanding in her efforts to support and care for her friends through their personal difficulties. She was not afraid to offer her opinion or advice from which many valued and benefited. Hospitable, warm and generous as a hostess, time spent with Isabel was often well charged with mischief and merriment.

Her sense of humour and love of life was not only evident during friendship time but also during her very busy scheduled working day. She had time for so many things and one of the fond memories of Isabel was her ward rounds; not only did she carry out a ward round of all the babies but subsequently went on to the hospital greenhouse to carry out the ward round of the vast array of plants she had taken over. The special care baby unit became a tropical garden - such was Isabel’s love of nature and perceptive way of helping staff to relax away from the often pressurized workload.

Isabel married Eric Jarvie in 1982 and, when she took early retirement in 1988 from the Southern General Hospital, she learnt to relinquish her professional pressures, creating time and space for her life with her husband Eric and the many other pursuits with which her life was filled.

She retired to Kilchattan Bay on the Island of Bute, but did not give up her love of life nor the community of which she was a part. She was an avid lover of horticulture and was actively involved in the Scottish Rock Garden and the Rothesay Horticulture Society, becoming secretary and adviser on many issues.

Her continued love of life, nature, community and all things beautiful shone through in her commitment to others, bringing pleasure and enjoyment which so many other colleagues and friends had been privileged to experience.

Her sudden death following coronary artery bypass surgery was a tragic loss to all who knew her.

Krishna Goel

[Brit.med.J., 1995,311,506]

(Volume X, page 137)

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