Lives of the fellows

James Laidler Fluker

b.24 October 1917 d.16 June 1994
BA Cantab(1939) MB BChir(1942) MRCS LRCP(1942) MA(1943) MRCP(1944) DPH(1948) MD(1951) FRCP(1968)

Jimmy Fluker was one of those general physicians interested in infectious diseases who brought their knowledge to venereology at a time when the specialty was changing from a predominately surgical discipline to the branch of medicine it is today. He was born in London where his father, a businessman, was chairman and managing director of Minimax. Jimmy was senior scholar at Sherborne and went from there to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He took first class honours in the natural sciences tripos in 1939 and went on to clinical training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, graduating in 1942. In 1944 he passed his membership of the College while he was RMO at the Scott Hospital, Plymouth, working in general medicine. For the next two years he was the acting medical superintendent of the Scott Hospital and a general physician with an interest in chest and venereal diseases. At the same time he was a specialist in general medicine in the Royal Navy.

He held a consultant physician appointment in Plymouth until 1955 when his interest in infectious diseases, particularly in venereal diseases, led him to be appointed as consultant venereologist to the Liverpool, Birkenhead and Chester Royal Infirmaries. He was also made an honorary senior lecturer at Liverpool University.

In 1963 he became consultant physician in genito-urinary medicine and director of the department of genito-urinary medicine at the West London Hospital (part of the Charing Cross Hospital Group) and was also appointed senior lecturer (one session) at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and honorary consultant physician at the Hammersmith Hospital. With his background in general medicine, infectious diseases and venereology, he built up the enormously busy Martha and Luke clinics over a twenty year period, directing the department at a time of rapid expansion in the subject. He served on a number of administrative committees at the West London and Charing Cross Hospitals, becoming chairman of the medical executive committee in 1979. He was a most efficient secretary of the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases and served as the Society’s president from 1973 to 1975.

In the early 1970s, during his tenure as chairman of the specialist advisory committee to the Royal College of Physicians, he was instrumental, with Claude Nicol [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.362] and Duncan Campbell, in obtaining support from the College to recognize the change of name of the speciality from venereology to genito-urinary medicine.

Jimmy was a very astute physician with a kind and extremely conscientious approach to patients and their problems. He was conservative but fearless in his opposition to any discrimination or unreasonable distress which might be caused to his patients.

Jimmy had two passionate hobbies - railways and the opera. He was particularly knowledgeable about Mozart and spent many holidays travelling happily in trains pulled by steam engines in Scotland, Wales and England. Unfortunately his wife Christine, whom he married in 1951, died about the time of his retirement form Charing Cross Hospital. As a result he never properly retired and for the last ten years of his life did innumerable consultant locums.

J R W Harris

[, 1994,309,870]

(Volume X, page 148)

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