Lives of the fellows

Adam Patrick

b.29 June 1883 d.19 September 1970
MA Glasg(1904) MB ChB(1908) MD(1913) FRFPS(1919) MRCP(1923) FRCP(1931) FRCPE(1942) LLD Glasg(1948) LLD St And(1952) FRCPG(1962)

Adam Patrick was born in Greenock, the son of William Patrick, and was educated at Greenock Academy and Glasgow University, where he graduated MA with first class honours in classics before embarking on medical training. He graduated MB ChB with honours in 1908, and held junior hospital posts in the Glasgow teaching hospitals. He carried out research on typhoid fever at Ruchill Infectious Diseases Hospital, and this he presented as his thesis for his degree of MD in 1913. He served as a specialist bacteriologist in the RAMC during the Great War. In 1915 he was posted to the military hospital at Cottonera, Malta, where he was able to show that a common cause of sickness among the patients evacuated from Gallipoli was paratyphoid.

After the war he returned to Glasgow as assistant to the Regius Professor of Medicine, T.K. Munro, with whom he had much in common, including a love of the classics and English literature.

In 1923 he went to Dundee as the second incumbent of the Chair of Medicine in the University of St. Andrews and consultant physician to Dundee Royal Infirmary. He served the University and the community with distinction until he retired in 1950.

As a part-time professor, he depended for his livelihood on private practice in Dundee and the neighbouring counties. Nevertheless, he spent several hours each day in his wards, attending the sick and teaching, and was on constant call for emergency visits. He rarely took holidays, lived modestly and soberly, and in his work displayed an industry, integrity and professional competence that few could equal. He did not like earthy humour and would show his disapproval by pursing his lips, but he had his own brand of kindly dry humour. His systematic lectures were scholarly and not always appreciated by his students, but his teaching at the bedside was invariably interesting and at times exciting. As an examiner, he was inscrutable and absolutely impartial. His most important service to St. Andrews University lay in the clinical training and self-reliance in regard to simple laboratory tests that he gave to his students. Next to this, he set them standards of modesty, courtesy, integrity and professional behaviour that they witnessed daily in his wards. His staff was small, his resources meagre, his hours of clinical work and teaching long, and he had little time for research or writing.

In his retirement he served as Vice-Chairman of the Eastern Regional Hospital Board of Scotland and played a large part in bringing the National Health Service into operation. As the years advanced he continued to walk and bicycle and read classical literature.

He married Esther Margarete, daughter of Frederick Roe. They had one son, Robert Patrick BDS (St. And.), and one daugghter Grizel Patrick, MB ChB (St. And.).

KG Lowe

[Brit.med.J., 1970, 4, 58; Lancet, 1970, 2, 729; Glasgow Herald, 21 Sept 1970; Dundee Courier & Advertiser 21 & 24 Sept 1970]

(Volume VI, page 368)

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