Lives of the fellows

Thomas Neilson Fraser

b.2 February 1910 d.1 December 1976
MB ChB Glasg(1933) FRFPSG(1936) MRCP(1936) MD(1948) FRCP(1952) FRCPG(1962) MRCPE(1964) FRCPE(1967)

Fraser was born in Glasgow, son of Malcolm Fraser, stockbroker, and Mary Jane Stewart, daughter of Duncan Stewart, a master coppersmith. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and Morrison’s Academy, Crieff. His medical school was Glasgow whence he graduated in 1933. He married Mabel, daughter of Trevor Griffiths, a dental surgeon, in 1940, by whom he had a son and daughter. His daughter Alison Elliman became MRCP 1968 and is a consultant physician.

After house officer posts in the Western and Victoria Infirmaries of Glasgow Fraser had a period of ill health, which later precluded his serving in the Forces. He was chosen for the Hall fellowship in medicine in the professorial unit at the Western Infirmary in 1936 and also was appointed an assistant physician to outpatients. Subsequently he was promoted an assistant to the professor in 1945 and in the following year appointed physician in charge of the rheumatism unit at Killearn Hospital near Glasgow. In 1948 he was appointed consultant to the Western Infirmary and honorary lecturer to the University of Glasgow. Seven years later, in 1955, he was appointed to administrative charge of wards, a position held till his retirement in 1975, when he was the senior medical consultant. He was on the board of examiners of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow for the Membership, and examiner for the MB ChB of Glasgow University. For a period he was a member of the board of management of the Western Infirmary, to which he gave wise counsel.

Fraser was a general physician of great ability, but from an early stage in his career his interest was in rheumatology, and he was responsible for the first controlled trial of gold in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. For this and other important contributions to the subject he was awarded the doctorate of medicine with honours.

While at the University he was an all round sportsman, obtaining colours for rugby and cricket and also enjoying golf and shooting. He was a keen and skilful angler, much of his fishing being in the river Lyon in Perthshire. In 1932 he rescued a woman from drowning in that river, for which he was awarded the certificate of the Royal Humane Society.

Fraser, being possessed of an even temperament and a nice sense of humour, was the best of company. He was a good teacher, well liked by his students and very popular with his colleagues. As an administrator in charge of a medical unit he carried out this not always easy task well. Essentially he was a very kind man; a quality much appreciated by his patients, and indeed by his many friends.

JB Rennie

[Brit.med.J., 1977, 1, 114; Lancet, 1976, 2, 1419; Glasgow Herald, 8 Dec 1976]

(Volume VII, page 196)

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