Lives of the fellows

George Anderson Kiloh

b.30 May 1910 d.30 March 1981
MRCS LRCP(1934) MB BS Lond(1936) MD(1940) MRCP(1941) FRCP(1962)

George Kiloh was born in London in 1910, the elder son of Ruxton Cuthbert Kiloh, an engineer, and Elizabeth Anderson, a farmer’s daughter. He went to Battersea Grammar School, and from there to King’s College Hospital where he qualified in 1934. After a succession of junior posts at King’s, he was Crawfurd medical registrar there from 1939 to 1942, passing the London MD in 1940 and the MRCP in 1941. In 1942 he joined the RAMC, and was soon serving in India where he was lieutenant colonel in charge of a division from 1944 to 1946.

After demobilization he was senior medical registrar at the National Heart Hospital for two years, until appointed consultant physician to the Chester Group of hospitals in 1948, a few months before the start of the National Health Service.

His appointment to this provincial hospital group was that of general physician, but his special interest in cardiology had been maturing during his period at the National Heart Hospital, and he immediately set about developing a unit for cardiac investigation in Chester. Cardiac surgery was about to become important, and Kiloh recognized the value of close association between physician and surgeon, arranging to hold joint clinics with Leslie Temple from the Liverpool cardiothoracic unit at Chester Royal Infirmary. Patients then met their physician and future surgeon, and treatment was discussed by all three. Out of this cooperation an outstandingly successful cardiac service became available to doctors and their patients in Chester and North Wales.

His interest in cardiology did not impair the service he provided in general medicine, and the old buildings at Chester City Hospital and Royal Infirmary were the scene of an enormous turnover of acute medical cases, providing excellent training for successive house physicians and registrars. The wide scope of the work, and the enthusiastic supervision and teaching they received from their physician, made the unit a popular training post. His association with his juniors seldom ended with their term of office, and he maintained contact with many in retirement. George Kiloh did not spare himself, and he expected the same industry from his juniors. It was quite usual for him to do his full ward round on a bank holiday, and he expected his team to be in attendance even when working hours for junior staff were much reduced.

He was an excellent lecturer. He took great pains to prepare his subject, so that he spoke fluently and with little reference to notes. Bad grammar and modern distortions of the English language were anathema to him. Pressure of work left little time for research, but he was a thoughtful physician, and occasional papers on his observations were an excellent example to his juniors, notably that on pure aortic stenosis, (British Heart Journal, 1950). He took much interest in the training of nurses, and examined regularly for the General Nursing Council in London as well as locally.

Starting his consultant career when the Health Service was about to begin, George Kiloh played a leading part in the organization of the hospital service in his area. He was always ready to take on more than his share of committee work. For long periods he was secretary of the local medical advisory committee, and of the Chester and North Wales Medical Society, chairman of the medical staff committee, and in his turn president of the Chester Medical Society.

He founded the Chester branch of the British Heart Foundation, of which he was later made life president. He attended and contributed to meetings of the British Cardiac Society. He was a man of strong convictions, and a forthright speaker who would not hesitate to put forward unpopular views. His powers of argument and persuasion were vital to the development of the Health Service in a city whose hospitals in 1948 were antiquated and inadequate.

He played a full part in local life apart from his professional activities. He was a keen Mason, chairman of the Chester and District Marriage Guidance Council, president of the Free Church Council, and of the Rotary Club. He was vice-president of the Chester Football Club for over 20 years.

In 1939 he married Freda Heron, whom he had known as a nurse. They had one son and one daughter. On retirement in 1974 George and Freda went to live in the Isles of Scilly, where they had had a holiday home for some years. The last three years of his working life had been dogged by ill health due to aortic valve disease, a subject in which he had taken so much professional interest. He needed valve replacement twice, and installation of a pacemaker. Ill health eventually led George to decide on premature retirement, but after the second operation his health improved enough for him to enjoy six years of reasonable health in his island home.

He was survived by his widow, son and daughter. His younger brother (also FRCP) became professor of psychiatry in New South Wales.

ACC Hughes

[Brit.med.J., 1981, 282, 1979]

(Volume VII, page 323)

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