Lives of the fellows

James Maurice Hill

b.25 September 1920 d.1 September 1986
MRCS LRCP(1944) MB BS Lond(1944) MD(1049) MRCP(1949) FRCP(1974)

James Maurice (Mick) Hill was born in Glasgow, the son of a regular serving officer in the RAMC, whose wife, Mabel Hoy, was the daughter of a bank manager. He was educated at Campbell College, Belfast, and graduated in medicine from the University of London, at St Thomas’s Hospital. After a house appointment at St James Hospital, Balham, he enlisted in the RAMC, serving most of his time in India. After demobilization he was appointed medical registrar at St Stephen’s Hospital where he came under the influence of the formidable Sir Adolphe Abrahams [Munk's Roll, Vol.VI, p.1], and in chest diseases, Alec Wingfield [Munk's Roll, Vol.VI, p.469]. Spurred on by this experience, he obtained both his London doctorate and his membership of the College in 1949, and was appointed senior registrar in thoracic medicine to the St Helier Hospital and Mitcham Chest Clinic, later being upgraded to consultant, a post he held until his retirement.

At the St Helier Hospital he joined an active and progressive group of young chest physicians in a thoracic unit where the surgical staff was led by William Cleland, and later by Angus MacArthur. With enthusiastic clinical judgement he overcame the problems of the long waiting list for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis by short stay admission for the induction of pneumothorax with domiciliary maintenance, and later by the extended use of domiliciary-based chemotherapy. As clinical and epidemiological control of tuberculosis was achieved, he realized the changing nature of thoracic medicine and took six months’ study leave, which he spent at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and Leeds General Hospital. He returned to St Helier and was appointed to general medical sessions in the group, reshaping his career in general medicine. It served to underline his considerable ability as a clinician with excellent judgement, and a deep concern for the welfare of his patients. He never came to terms with what he considered to be the mystique of the pulmonary function laboratory but, always practical, he set up a flourishing clinic for fibreoptic bronchoscopy.

Mick Hill was an enthusiastic teacher, and as secretary of the postgraduate medical centre he tackled the task of raising money to secure the rebuilding of the centre and the medical library with great success.

In 1975, following the reorganization of the NHS, he was tempted into medical administration. He had not by nature, nor inclination, the patience to reach consensus and realized that consultation with colleagues at the bedside was vastly different to persuading them in committee to support the principle or the greater good. To his credit he always acted with integrity, although he had sometimes to recommend policies with which he was not in sympathy.

He married Audrey Gallimore, a graduate nurse and the daughter of an artist, and enjoyed great happiness at home with her and their two children, tending his garden and especially his trees for which he had a natural interest and considerable knowledge. With his wife, he pursued his interest in painting in water colours.

Mick was a well set up, quite handsome man, with an engaging, rather ‘laid back’ personality, and with much to look forward to on his retirement. Sadly, this was not to be. Unknown to him, what seemed to be a trivial illness turned out to be a carcinoma of the stomach. He faced his last illness, with the devoted help of his wife and family, with uncomplaining fortitude.

HF Harwood

[Brit.med.J., 1986,293,1512]

(Volume VIII, page 226)

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