Lives of the fellows

Godfrey Taunton Hebert

b.27 January 1888 d.4 January 1957
BM BCh Oxon(1913) DM Oxon(1918) MRCP(1921) FRCP(1932)

G. T. Hebert was an example of the conscientious, over-worked tuberculosis officer of the 1920’s to 1940’s, when the anti-tuberculosis campaign had not the benefits of streptomycin. He was the son of the Rev. Septimus Hebert, vicar of Seal, near Sevenoaks, and Caroline Charlotte (née Haslam) Hebert, and was educated at Harrow, Christ Church, Oxford, where he took first class honours in physiology, and St. Thomas’s Hospital. His interest in chest diseases began with the post of resident medical officer at the London Chest Hospital, Victoria Park. Until 1920 he was tuberculosis officer for Hackney and Bethnal Green, when he was appointed physician-in-charge of the tuberculosis department of St. Thomas’s Hospital.

From 1939 to 1940 he was president of the Tuberculosis Association, one of his last important papers being his presidential address to the Association on pulmonary fibrosis (Tubercle, 1939, 20, 145-60). He took a great interest in teaching and from his experiences wrote Pulmonary tuberculosis (1927). He contributed a number of papers to journals, notably on cog-wheel breathing (Lancet, 1930, 2, 628-9) and on rational pneumothorax treatment (Brit. med. J., 1936, 2, 272-6).

Hebert was no routine worker. He was an expert in the management of artificial pneumothorax, and all his life interested in the problems of pulmonary fibrosis, in which he attempted to correlate physical with post-mortem and X-ray findings, with a judgment equalled by his passion for clear expression in good English. To some who did not know him intimately he appeared aloof; he was really a reserved but kind colleague, a lover of his home and his garden. His outside hobby was golf, which he played with skill and enjoyment.

In 1919 he married Constance Tatton, who survived him with two daughters.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1957, 1, 110; Lancet, 1957, 1, 108; St. Thom. Hosp. Gaz., 1957, 55, 84-6 (p); Times, 5 Jan. 1957.]

(Volume V, page 184)

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