Lives of the fellows

Hector Kenneth Goadby

b.16 May 1902 d.25 September 1990
MRCS LRCP(1926) MB Cantab(1928) MA(1928) MRCP(1929) MD(1931) FRCP(1936)

Hector had three great loves in life: St Thomas’ Hospital, diabetes and golf. He was educated at Winchester and Cambridge - where he was captain of the university golf club. His clinical training was at St Thomas’ and he subsequently held all the major training positions, eventually becoming resident assistant physician and deputy director of the medical unit. This was at a time when Hugh Maclean [Munk’s Roll,Vol.V,p.251] was the first professor of medicine and the major interest was diabetes and the newly discovered insulin. Hector Goadby took part in extracting insulin and published a remarkably forward looking paper on the half-life of insulin. He was also one of the first workers to show a connection between calcium and the parathyroid glands.

In 1934 he was appointed a consultant physician to outpatients and he started the diabetic clinic, which flourished in his hands for the next 30 years - and beyond. His style was compassion and hard work; he was devoted to his patients and they were deeply attached to him. He saw many patients for decades, who continued to be free of complications, and years later returned to the hospital to present Joslin medals to those of his flock who had qualified by surviving the requisite fifty years.

During the war years, he served in India with the RAMC attaining the rank of brigadier. He was first attached to the Southern Army and later to Eastern Command. After the war he returned to St Thomas’, then largely evacuated to Godalming, and practised whole-time hospital medicine - no private practice for him. As well as his duties as a physician, he was devoted to the Nightingale School of Nursing and became physician to the nursing staff and lecturer to the school.

The writer became his house physician in 1949 and was greatly impressed by his commitment and effort on behalf of his patients. With twinkling eyes and grey stubby hair, and a rather awkward lurching walk - he later had severe osteoarthritis of the hips - he would conduct long ward rounds, with long pauses for ‘thought' about the many cases: he really did think hard about all problems. He served the Nightingale Memorial Fund committee for many years. When he retired from St Thomas’ he was made an honorary Nightingale, with a nurse’s badge which he wore with pride.

After the long hours of clinical work which he imposed on himself, his relaxation was golf. He shared this passion with generations of doctors and medical students and in retirement was a most generous host at his house in Rye for golfing weekends. But his hips caught up with him and he is said to have had no less than eight joint replacements - at least three hips on one side. Yet his spirit remained unimpaired to the end; if he could not play he could always hobble round and watch. His three children, Jack, Juliet and Hilary survived him; Jack followed his father’s profession and became a physician in the RAF. There were four grandchildren: Tamsin, Neil, Pennyghael and Douglas.

B Creamer

[Brit.med.J..1991,302,286-7]

(Volume IX, page 200)

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