Lives of the fellows

Morris Mitman

b.22 January 1902 d.13 December 1957
MB BS Lond(1926) DPH Cantab(1930) DMRE Cantab(1930) MRCP(1927) FRCP(1945)

Morris Mitman, the son of Solomon Abraham and Rachel (née Grosswurt) Mitman, was born in Portsmouth and educated at its Grammar School before entering the Medical School of Guy’s Hospital. Following house posts, he was assistant medical officer and then deputy medical superintendent at St. Marylebone Hospital, resident at the London Skin Hospital, and then spent three years at St. Charles Hospital, Kensington, before deciding to devote himself to epidemiology and the control of infectious diseases. Appointments at the North Eastern Hospital, Tottenham, and the Eastern Hospital, Homerton, where he became medical superintendent in 1936, led to his transfer as medical officer-in-charge of some two thousand beds at the London County Council River Hospitals at Dartford, where his clinical and administrative ability brought him the admiration and affection of patients and staff.

During the Second World War he was given the onerous jobs of re-designing the empty buildings of an old small pox hospital to accommodate civilian and Service cases of infectious diseases, and of preparing a special unit for Service patients of the Netherlands at Joyce Green Hospital. Then and later it was in great part due to him that London did not suffer from the spread of small pox from imported cases.

At the age of fifty-one he had a coronary thrombosis. Both this and the ill health that dogged him until his death at the early age of fifty-six, he attributed to the anxiety and frustration of the lay bureaucratic control that followed the introduction of the National Health Service.

Mitman was a meticulous clinician, a lucid lecturer and a prolific writer. He was at different times president of the fever group of the Society of Medical Officers of Health, of the section of epidemiology and preventive medicine of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the Kent branch of the British Medical Association, and the first chairman of the Group Medical Committee of Dartford. He did not marry.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1958, 1, 47; Dartford, Crayford & Swanley Chronicle, 20 Dec. 1957; Lancet, 1957,2, 1344 (p); Nursing Times, 10 Jan. 1958; Times, 2 Jan. 1958.]

(Volume V, page 287)

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