Lives of the fellows

David John Lipscomb

b.19 October 1945 d.30 October 1995
MB BS Lond(1969) MRCS LRCP(1969) MRCP(1973) FRCP(1988)

David Lipscomb was born in Brisbane, Australia, but moved with his family to England. His background was in medicine - his father was an ENT surgeon in Orpington. After school at Tonbridge, David entered Guy’s and qualified in 1969. He went on to work as a house physician at Guy’s, Plumstead and Orpington. In October 1972 he returned to Guy’s as a junior registrar in general medicine. He got onto the registrar rotation at Guy’s where he worked in general medicine, intensive care and toxicology.

In December 1974 he went to Hammersmith and started his training in respiratory medicine. Three years later he moved to Cambridge on a senior registrar rotation working at Addenbrooke’s, Papworth and Peterborough Hospitals. In 1980 he was appointed consultant physician at Basingstoke District Hospital. Whilst in this post he established a fibre-optic bronchoscopy service, a percutaneous lung needle biopsy service and organized a modern pulmonary function laboratory. He also set up the Basingstoke Asthma Society and became clinical tutor to undergraduates, and later college tutor.

Always immaculate in appearance, he exuded energy and commitment. His manner was direct. He was by nature very competitive. As an informed and careful physician he was rarely wrong diagnosing patients.

He was a superb and competitive sportsman. In the summer he successfully raced his X-class boat and with his co-owner tuned it during the winter. He played golf and tennis with ferocious application.

No account of David is complete without mention of his wife, Isobel Mary, and their three daughters to whom he was devoted. His final illness came completely unexpectedly and he died eight days after an exploratory laparotomy. In the few final days his behaviour was quite remarkable. He was visited by friends and acquaintances from every level in the hospital, all of whom went to his room in trepidation and came out relived and reassured. He died of disseminated adenocarcinoma just after his fiftieth birthday.

J M Fowler

[Guy’s Hospital Gazette, Feb/Mar 1996; Brit.med.J., 1996,312,439]

(Volume X, page 302)

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