Lives of the fellows

Thomas Arthur Hughes

b.6 December 1884 d.23 May 1936
BA Dubl(1908) MB BCh BAO Dubl(1909) DPH Dubl(1911) MD Dubl(1920) MA Dubl(1923) ScD Dubl(1928) MRCP(1923) FRCP(1934)

Thomas Hughes, son of Patrick and Alice Mary (Cunningham) Hughes, was born in co. Armagh. He became an orphan at an early age. He was sent to school at Blackrock, Dublin, and thence to Trinity College. An outstanding undergraduate, he became assistant to the professor of physiology while working for the D.P.H. He entered the Indian Medical Service by competition in 1910 and served on its military side for ten years, seeing active service on the North-West frontier of India and in the East African Campaign. In the 1919 War against Afghanistan he was awarded a brevet majority.

In 1920 he was posted to the King Edward Medical College, Lahore, as professor of physiology. In 1924 he became professor of clinical medicine and in 1935 professor of medicine and principal of the College, and had the reputation of being the ablest man ever connected with it, as he never spared himself in hospital work or in teaching and could rarely be induced to undertake private consultations. He was held in awe by his students and by his colleagues, junior and senior alike, for he was a man of strong likes and dislikes, who had an Irish temper and Irish humour which spared none; yet, since he was good at heart, none of them was upset for long.

He was dean of the medical faculty of the University of the Punjab and a member of the council of the Indian Research Fund Association. From the early 1920’s to the time of his death he pursued clinical research with the aid of two biochemical assistants paid for by this Association. A prolific writer, he made contributions to knowledge on diabetes mellitus in Indians, on haemolytic anaemia, on malarial cirrhosis and on nephritis. His researches on mitral stenosis in North Indians drew attention to the prevalence of a condition thought up till then to be non-existent, and in his last years he was engaged in an intensive investigation on pulmonary tuberculosis in Punjabis. Although he contracted fever with a cough and loss of weight, he refused to be examined or to lessen his labours until a complete breakdown necessitated invaliding to England, where he died of pulmonary tuberculosis at Mundesley Sanatorium.

In 1912 he married Catherine Kennedy, who died in 1921. In 1923 he married Kathleen Howard, widow of Major G. H. Paget, who survived him with one son and one daughter.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1936, 1, 1137; Lancet, 1936, 1, 1327.]

(Volume V, page 205)

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