Lives of the fellows

Enrique Teofilo Bassadone

b.15 March 1919 d.23 December 1986
LMC Madrid(1933) MRCS LRCP(1942) MRCP(1951) FRCP(1970)

Enrique Bassadone was born and went to school in Huevla, Southern Spain, though as his parents were from Gibralter he was actually a British subject. He chose to study medicine at the University of Madrid, where he qualified Licenciado de medicina y cirugía in 1933, the equivalent of our first medical degrees. After qualification he first held a house physician post and then served as a junior pathologist before being appointed junior assistant to Jiménez Díaz, the professor of medicine in Madrid. He kept this post for three years.

On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 he joined the Government faction and served with great distinction, rising to the rank of brigadier general. He saw much active service during the early stages of the war and when Madrid fell to General Franco’s forces he was fortunate to escape to France, despite the problems of his subsequent internment under difficult conditions.

His good fortune returned when he was allowed to take up residence in Britain. Despite the fact that his Spanish qualification was deemed acceptable for practice in this country, he worked to obtain the Conjoint with typical industry and application, qualifying in 1942 in the middle of the second world war. He was working at this time at St Olave’s as senior resident physician and was establishing a reputation both for clinical work and for nutritional research on the development of the wartime national loaf, carried out under J A Ryle [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV,p.595] at Guy’s.

For Enrique Bassadone, 1947 was a very important year. He was appointed assistant physician at St Alfege’s and married Mary Kirkland, a nurse working at St Olave’s. Both events were to prove pivotal in his life, exchanging the chaos and confusion of his early years for the stable framework of hospital and home life which so characterized his later years. He remained at St Alfege’s, which became the new Greenwich District Hospital, for 27 years until his retirement in 1974. His achievements were many. He set up one of the very first intensive care units in the country and became physician in charge of the unit after his appointment to the Miller Hospital, and the new Greenwich District Hospital. He was very influential during the planning and commissioning of the new hospital. Always interested in politics, he was chairman of the medical staff committee for several years, but first and foremost he was a physician with great diagnostic acumen and even greater compassion.

Enrique was an extremely likeable man. Dapper and lithe is appearance, he always had a ready smile, tempered by a thoughtful -and often thought provoking - comment. He had a wide knowledge of life and its vicissitudes, as well as of medicine, art, literature and politics A well informed man, he never made you a present of his opinions: he was not reserved, radiating a quiet, restrained buoyancy and optimism. Needless to say, his patients adored him and his colleagues relied heavily on his advice and wisdom.

After retirement he went back to live in Southern Spain, with his wife Mary, where they spent several happy years now that he was free from the risk of political chastisement. Eventually they returned to England. In these latter years, before he suffered the stroke that so gravely affected the final period of his life, he maintained his interest in medicine and people, often popping in to postgraduate meetings to ‘keep his brain alive’, as he put it. He was survived by his wife Mary and their three sons.

P Marsden
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

[Brit.med.J., 1987,294,654]

(Volume VIII, page 20)

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