Lives of the fellows

James Isbister

b.21 August 1915 d.10 July 1996
MB BS Sydney(1939) MRACP(1944) MRCP(1948) FRACP(1954) FRCP(1965)

James Isbister was a well known and highly regarded Sydney consultant physician. The son of James L J Isbister, a general practitioner, gynaecologist and obstetrician, he first showed his academic brilliance at Sydney Church of England Grammar School. He went on to Sydney University to study medicine, graduating in 1939 with first class honours.

Following graduation he was a resident medical officer at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He then joined the Royal Australian Air Force, serving for five and a half years, in Darwin and New Guinea. After the war he stayed on in the RAAF reserve as a wing commander.

After the war he returned to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as a medical registrar and later a pathology registrar. In 1948 he went to the London Hospital on a postgraduate scholarship.

On his return to Australia he was appointed to the staff of the Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) and in 1950 to the Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney. He was student supervisor when the RNSH became a teaching hospital and played a large part in its establishment. When he retired from the RNSH he accepted an invitation to became a staff physician at the Blue Mountains District Hospital, New South Wales, where he was involved in the planning of the rehabilitation unit.

Originally his main clinical interest was in diabetes, but later he became interested in thoracic medicine and was a member of the thoracic clinic at RNSH for twenty years. He was a foundation member of the Thoracic Society of Australia, attending its first meeting in Perth. He was a member of the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis in Australia and was a very active member of the Asthma Foundation from its initiation, serving on the board for a period of time and as a long term member of its welfare committee.

He was also a council member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and served on the Colleges state committee. Despite all his achievements, Jim was a humble, gentle man. He was most interested in cars and was a member of many car clubs. He always enjoyed driving long distances to medical meetings. In 1940 he married Jean Sinclair (Clair) Paton, now a distinguished paediatrician, and they had a very happy life. They had four children.

A G McManis

[Thoracic Society News, Sept 1996; Fellowship Affairs, Sept 1996; Medical Journal of Australia, 1996,165,321; Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Aug 1996]

(Volume X, page 250)

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