Lives of the fellows

Francis Wimeru Brian Fitchett

b.6 July 1870 d.5 November 1951
MB CM Edin(1895) MD Edin(1908) MRCP(1925) FRCP(1937) FRACP(1938)

Frank Fitchett was born in Dunedin, the eldest son of Dean Alfrey Robertson Fitchett and Theresa Martha Fitchett, née Williamson. He was educated at the Otago Boys’ High School and at Christ’s College, Christchurch. He received his early medical education at the Otago University Medical School and his later training in the Edinburgh Medical School, from which he graduated in 1895. He served as a resident medical officer in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, and later as a civil surgeon during the South African War.

He returned to Dunedin in 1902 and commenced general practice, but in 1905 was appointed a member of the honorary staff of the Dunedin Hospital and a lecturer in clinical medicine in the Medical School. In 1911 he was appointed lecturer in materia medica, and in 1920 professor of clinical medicine and therapeutics (part-time), a position which he held until his retirement in 1939. In 1928 he was appointed chairman of a commission to investigate tuberculosis in New Zealand.

Professor Fitchett was a highly efficient practical physician of great charm, with a powerful and penetrating intellect. He was a man of polished speech and immaculate attire, with a kind heart frequently veiled under a brusqueness of manner and a sarcasm for which he was notorious. His interests were wide and varied, in books, music, poetry—at one time he learned a sonnet of Shakespeare every day—fishing, Rugby football, birds and flowers.

In 1903 he married Miss Gertrude Rattray. They had a daughter and a son, who specialised in pathology.

Richard R Trail

[Lancet, 1951, 2, 993; N.Z. med. J., 1952, 51, 48-50.]

(Volume V, page 132)

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