Lives of the fellows

Robert Amos Griffiths

b.11 July 1922 d.14 September 1988
BA Oxon(1944) BM BCh(1947) MA(1958) MRCGP(1958) MRCP(1964) FRCP(1976)

Amos Griffiths, consultant physician in geriatrics at Oxford, had been retired only three years before his untimely death. He was born in a small mining village, Royston in Yorkshire, and educated at Normanton Grammar School where he won a scholarship to read medicine at University College, Oxford; for his clinical training he went to Guy’s Hospital medical school. Shortly after qualifying he joined the RAMC as a regimental medical officer in the Grenadier Guards. After the war he held several appointments in the Guy’s Hospital sector before entering general practice. He was an outstanding general practitioner in Derby for 12 years, but he always wanted to increase his knowledge and clinical skills and he decided to enter hospital medicine. He first had to obtain his membership of the College, in which he was successful from a busy general practice, a rare achievement in those days. He then became the first senior registrar in geriatric medicine at Cowley Road Hospital, Oxford, a leading teaching hospital in the care of the elderly.

In 1965 he was appointed consultant physician in geriatric medicine at the Horton Hospital, Banbury, which he developed into a modern district general hospital. He established a post of consultant physician in general medicine with a special interest in the elderly, and obtained the appointment by open competition. He became chairman of the medical executive committee and played a major role in the development of the hospital services in Banbury.

In 1973 he moved to Oxford as consultant physician in geriatric medicine to the United Oxford Hospitals, and clinical lecturer in the University of Oxford. With the opening of the John Radcliffe Hospital in 1979 he joined a general medical firm where he developed a geriatric service linked to the Radcliffe infirmary and Abingdon Community Hospital. His research interests were in degenerative neurological disorders of the elderly and he organized an international conference at Oxford which formed the basis of a book. He continued with research and private practice after his retirement until his final illness: he never lost his interest in medicine and continued to read the medical journals assiduously.

Amos was a kindly, conscientious and caring clinician with high clinical standards; his patients had great confidence in him and he was held in high regard by his medical colleagues. He played an active part in the development of the hospital and community services for the elderly and was on the Health Advisory Service, the Alzheimer’s Disease Society, and chairman of Age Concern. Oxfordshire.

Apart from medicine, Amos was a committed freemason and in his later years he held high rank both locally and nationally. In this sphere, as in medicine, he was able to fulfil in a practical way his deep felt wish to help others.

To his many friends he was a genial host at his lovely home in Shotover, but above all he was a family man. In 1948 he married Grace Margaret (‘Patsy’), a Radcliffe trained nurse and the daughter of the Reverend Robert Henry Wilson. They were devoted to each other and to their family of two sons, twin daughters, and a growing number of grandchildren.

L Wollner

[, 1988,297,1124]

(Volume VIII, page 198)

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