Lives of the fellows

Reginald William Luxton

b.12 August 1905 d.17 July 1984
BSc Manch(1926) MB ChB(1929) MD(1932) MRCP(1932) FRCP(1952)

Reg, as he was known to everybody, was born in Shipley, near Bradford in Yorkshire; one of eleven children. He was deeply attached to his family, never married, but acted as ‘father’ to his many nieces and nephews. Although all his working life was in Manchester he remained a Yorkshireman.

After early education at Bradford Grammar School, he came to Manchester University on a scholarship provided by the Methodist Missionary Society. He had a distinguished undergraduate career, obtaining distinctions in anatomy and pathology together with a number of prizes. He was considered medically unfit to go abroad and so, on graduation, he had to repay the loan from the Missionary Society. Thus he had to refuse the offer of a house physician post at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and went instead to Hope Hospital. There he was assistant then resident medical officer, and after a period as demonstrator in anatomy at Manchester University he even went back to Hope Hospital as resident obstetrical officer. In 1934 he started his long association with Crumpsall Hospital, at first as resident medical officer and later, in 1936, as consultant physician; combining this with a chief assistant appointment at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and, in 1938, with the post of visiting physician at Christie Hospital. During the war years he even acted also as visiting physician at Oldham Royal Infirmary.

With the coming of the National Health Service Reg confined his work to Crumpsall and Christie Hospitals, retiring from Crumpsall Hospital at the age of 65. A little later he also retired from Christie Hospital.

He was an excellent general physician, well respected as a clinician and teacher. His unofficial undergraduate teaching sessions were soon regularized by his appointment as honorary lecturer in medicine, with senior students being attached to his unit, and he also lectured to the dental students.

Reg Luxton became a Fellow of the College, a member of the Thyroid Club, an associate member of the Cardiac Society, and was proud to be made a member of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland in 1955.

His contributions to medical research were threefold. Firstly, he did much work on the use of sulphonamides when they originally became available. Secondly, he was one of the first to recognize that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis was part of a general disorder, and he was one of the founders of the concept of auto-immune disorders. Lastly, as a result of his observations at Christie Hospital, he recognized the damage that could be done to kidneys by radiation. His article ‘Radiation nephritis’ appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Medicine 1953,22 p.215-42, and he also published a chapter on the subject in Diseases of the Kidney, 2nd ed.,M B Strauss and L G Welt, Boston, Little, Brown, c.1971, and in Structural basis of renal disease, ed. EL Becker, New York, Hoeber Division, Harper, 1968.

He played a full part in medical activities in the city, being secretary, then treasurer, to the Pathological Society, and president 1959-60 of the section of medicine of the Manchester Medical Society. Before the NHS he was honorary secretary of the committee coordinating the work of the Manchester and District Hospitals. He was a member of the Regional Health Authority for many years. His work for the hospice movement in Manchester, Yorkshire, and even Australia, was very considerable; it was inspired by his religious convictions and association with the Moral Rearmament Movement. He was a keen fisherman, and he loved to walk in the Yorkshire dales, although progressive breathlessness eventually prevented this. In his final years he retired to a lovely home overlooking Airedale, where he died peacefully.

S Oleesky

[, 1984,289,708,1012; Lancet, 1984,2,475; Proc. roy.Soc.Med., 1957,50,943; Lancet, 1956,2,105; Quart.J.Med, 1953,22,215]

(Volume VIII, page 293)

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