Lives of the fellows

Patrick James Hare

b.18 January 1920 d.5 April 1982
MB BS Lond(1944) MD Johns Hopkins(1944) MRCP(1949) MD(1954) FRCP(1964) FRCPE(1970)

Patrick Hare was born in Dunfermline, the son of John Henry Hare, owner-actor manager of the local theatre, and Isabella (McIntyre) Hare. He spent his early schooldays at Malcolm Canmore School, ending them at Westminster City School, London. His medical education was undertaken during the war years at University College, London, where he was Andrews scholar, and at University College Hospital Medical School. He spent his final undergraduate year as a Rockefeller student fellow at Baltimore, USA, and obtained dual medical qualifications at Johns Hopkins and the University of London.

After qualifying he joined the RAMC, serving as a graded dermatologist in Burma and Singapore between 1945 and 1948. Although the antithesis of the traditional army man, he counted his service time as good experience and seldom mentioned its gruesome aspects. On his return to London in 1948 he became registrar in the skin department at University College Hospital under WN Goldsmith, and it was here that W Freudenthal fostered what was to become a lifelong interest in histopathology of the skin.

During this period he also acted a a clinical assistant at St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin. In 1951 he was awarded a London University postgraduate travelling fellowship and worked in Paris under Tzanck and Rivalier, and in Zürich under Miescher. He was appointed consultant dermatologist at University College Hospital in 1952, took charge of the department in 1959, and in the same year was appointed to the staff of the Whittington Hospital.

In 1966 he was exchange professor in the department of medicine at McGill University, Montreal. He was appointed to the Grant chair of dermatology in Edinburgh in 1968, and retired in 1980, when the title of emeritus professor was conferred on him.

From 1958 to 1968 he was editor of the British Journal of Dermatology, a real one-man show in those days. It was sometimes hard to persuade dermatologists to write articles for his journal and then he often had to rewrite and proof read them. However, there is no doubt that, during this period, the journal grew in stature as a result of his tact and editorial skills. He was chairman of the specialist advisory committee on dermatology of the Joint Committee for Higher Medical Training from 1974 to 1978, and was president of the section of dermatology of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1978.

Paddy Hare’s research interests included comparative pathology, embryology and the history of medicine. He presented papers mainly on clinical or histological themes and wrote two books The Skin and Basic Dermatology. He was not a laboratory man and indeed had sometimes to be coaxed into a lab to see the merits of the latest acquisition. Nevertheless, realizing the importance of basic dermatological research, he encouraged others to develop electron microscopy, tissue culture and immunological methods in his department. His interest in comparative dermatology led to the formation of the Skin Biology Club, of which he was a founder member and a most distinguished and popular president from 1969 to 1979.

Paddy was an avid reader and could always be called upon as a reliable reference source. He was also invaluable as a translator who spoke German, French and Italian. His love of books extended beyond dermatology and medicine and he was a much respected and effective convenor of the central medical library committee of Edinburgh University from 1972 to 1980. He played a major part in the planning of the new Erskine medical library at Edinburgh, which was opened shortly after his retiral.

Paddy hated missing a single clinic and seldom sacrificed one for committee work. He was at his best teaching informally in the clinic, or at the other end of a double-headed microscope. He rarely repeated himself, and as he spoke quietly and to the point he had to be listened to with care. He disliked pomp in any guise, and cant. He had little time for formal lectures and made no secret of this, showing a puckish response to concern that his own lectures sometimes received a moderate rating from students. Colleagues soon came to admire his great erudition and ability to focus quickly on the relevant points at issue. His case notes were succinct, and he was amused when told by one doctor that the longest part of a letter from him was sometimes the patient’ address.

Although dogged by angina for a number of years before his early retiral, Paddy was devoted to his patients and his department. He took a close interest in the welfare of the staff and was justifiably proud of keeping his door always open for colleagues in difficulty. He was delighted to be able to act as a clinical assistant at a weekly dermatological clinic when he retired to live in Bath in 1980, and worked until a few weeks before his death.

Paddy had a wonderful family life. His marriage to Mary Bridges shone with happiness. She knew that Paddy’s life was his work and she supported him and encouraged him in all that he did, even though she knew he was often pushing himself beyond his physical reserves. The Hare home was a very happy and welcoming place and no one joined the department without experiencing the warmth of their hospitality at an early stage. Paddy and Mary shared many interests including their enjoyment of gardening and wild flowers. There were two sons; John, a medical physicist in London, and Kenneth, a general practitioner in Edinburgh.

JAA Hunter

[Brit.med.J., 1982, 284, 1482; Lancet, 1982, 2, 1136; Brit.J.Derm., 1982, 107, 719]

(Volume VII, page 244)

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