Lives of the fellows

Isidore Arthur Guest

b.9 September 1911 d.3 August 1978
MRCS LRCP(1937) MA MB BChir Cantab(1937) MRCP(1940) MD(1945) FRCP(1970)

He was born in Birmingham, his father Harry Guest being a toy merchant and his mother Rosetta, née Goldberg, daughter also of a toy merchant in Birmingham.

Guest was educated in King Edward’s School, Birmingham, which he entered on a foundation scholarship. From there he went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he first studied for the Bachelor of Arts degree by way of the Natural Sciences Tripos. He received his clinical education in Birmingham, from where he qualified MB BChir in 1937. His early postgraduate training was followed by the MRCP in 1940, and in the war he served in the RAMC, where he was a graded specialist with the rank of major.

He was concerned a good deal with maritime troop transport, and conducted research into ways of preventing seasickness. He invented the combined cannula and needle which revolutoinised intravenous treatment. He was modest about it, and though it retained the name Guest cannula, few people seemed to know that it was he to whom medicine owed a great debt for conceiving this simple yet brilliant idea and giving it a practical form. His methodical mind inclined him early on to neurology and he was strengthened in that resolve by a registrarship at the National Hospital, Queen Square. He proceeded MD Cambridge and in 1947 joined the staff at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, at first as a general physician with special interest in neurology.

Later he devoted himself entirely to his first love, and while continuing to serve Selly Oak Hospital also did sessional work at the East Birmingham Hospital and the Midland Centre for Neurosurgery and Neurology. He retired from the NHS in 1977, and in the period before his death he engaged in some locum consultant work.

Guest was a clear lecturer, and to witness a clinical demonstration by him was an experience never to be forgotten. He was a member of the Association of British Neurologists and was elected FRCP in 1970. His outside interests included cybernetics and research into the refinement of colour television, which he took up with great zeal after his retirement. Essentially a reserved man, his integrity and loyalty to the institutions in which he worked were exemplary, and his patients were invariably appreciative of his kindness and gentleness. He married Nancie, née Barnett, in 1950 and there was no issue of the marriage.

AM Nussey

[Brit.med.J., 1978, 2, 904]

(Volume VII, page 233)

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