Lives of the fellows

Charles Percy Pinckney

b.28 April 1901 d.20 February 1982
MRCS LRCP(1925) MA MB BChir Cantab(1928) MRCP(1929) FRCP(1941)

Charlie P, as he was affectionately known by colleagues and friends, began his medical career as RMO at St George’s Hospital and he worked his way up eventually to be appointed to the staff, firstly as a physician and then as the first full-time paediatrician to the hospital. He built up the children’s department at Hyde Park Corner and subsequently at Tite Street, Chelsea, when the Victoria Hospital there came under St George’s wing. He later took the unit down to its new home at Tooting Broadway. He was also paediatrician to the Windsor Group of hospitals and to the Chailey Heritage Hospital for handicapped children.

As a schoolboy he had a fine athletic career and he loved sport, especially swimming, skiing and tennis. He took an extremely keen interest in student activities and enjoyed leading the annual staff v students tennis match for many years.

Charlie P was an excellent committee man, courteous, tolerant, and above all fair and firm in his decisions. His quickness of grasp of situations, based on detailed analysis, was an impressive part of his chairmanship of committees and this ability was always being called into action. Above all he was a clinician. He loved to unravel a difficult clinical problem, but in chasing the clues for diagnosis he never for one moment forgot the patient. He sought no advancement or honours for himself but was elected president of the paediatric section of the Royal Society of Medicine. When he retired at the age of sixty-five he was asked to stay on at St George’s to look after the staff, and this he did for a further four years. The honour that gave him the greatest pleasure was the naming after him of a ward at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, and in 1980 he took part in this ceremony and celebration with the keenest enjoyment.

Pinckney had a most receptive mind and an enviable intellectual humility. He was always eager to learn and avidly embraced new knowledge and ideas from his specialist colleagues, whom he admired and valued. He was a humble and modest man whose quick insight into the value of change produced many revolutionary practices at St George’s, including the admission of mothers with their children at Tite Street well before the country had accepted this philosophy. He was always a popular figure at the Chailey Heritage Hospital where the staff welcomed him with open arms and where he knew each patient and how they had changed since his previous visit. He made his patients, his staff and all who met him feel valued and worthwhile. He was unfailingly even tempered and never showed impatience however much the provocation. He loved his family and his work, he loved life, and all of us at the hospital loved him. His passing reflected the loss of an era which is unlikely to return.

SM Tucker

(Volume VII, page 469)

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