Lives of the fellows

John Lawrence Pinniger

b.9 May 1914 d.8 June 1963
BA Oxon(1937) BM BCh Oxon(1940) DM Oxon(1946) MRCP(1941) FRCP(1958)

By the death of John Pinniger at the age of fifty-three the staif of St. Thomas’s Hospital lost a distinguished clinical pathologist at the height of his powers. He was born in Bristol, where his father, Wilfrid James Hussey Pinniger, was a consultant gynaecologist to the Royal Infirmary. His mother was Bessie Edith, daughter of the Rev. William Blake Atkinson. His early education was at Downs School, Bristol, and Epsom College. At both St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford, and St. Thomas’s Hospital, which he entered with a University scholarship, he excelled at games; at the former he was captain of tennis and Rugby football and a member of the University Greyhounds Rugby Club, at the latter captain of the Hospital Rugby team. His rejection for service with the R.A.M.C, in 1940, because of an increasing hereditary deafness, was to him a great disappointment; to pathology it was a great gain, for after resident posts of house physician, casualty physician and medical registrar he was, from 1941 to 1946, in turn demonstrator, assistant lecturer and then lecturer in this subject to his medical school.

In 1947 he went to the Auckland Hospital, New Zealand, as senior pathologist, but returned to St. Thomas’s in 1949 as physician-in-charge of the clinical laboratory. For the next twelve years he followed in the tradition of Louis Jenner, Dudgeon and Bamforth, believing with them in the investigation and management of patients in consultation with his medical and surgical colleagues. Although hard pressed by the growing demands on his department by the developing National Health Service, he was a continuous researcher, making valuable contributions on haematology, surgical pathology, the continuing role of rheumatic lesions in the auricular appendage in mitral stenosis, and on disorders of the reticulo-endothelial system. He was examiner for the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons, the London M.B., and the Royal College of Nursing, a member of the Medical Research Society, and in his last year president of the British division of the International Academy of Pathology.

Pinniger was a man of great integrity, respected for his eager collaboration with the staff, and held in affection for his ready help to any one of them who cared to discuss with him a personal problem. His leisure was spent on gardening, the reading of history, and the architecture of ancient buildings. By his wife, Katherine Mary, daughter of the Rev. Algernon Bertie Pratt, whom he married in 1942, he had one son and three daughters.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1963, 1, 1680; J.Clin.Path., 1963, 16, 479; J.Path.Bact., 1964, 88, 361-4; Lancet, 1963, 1, 1433-4.]

(Volume V, page 335)

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