Lives of the fellows

Carlyle Thornton Potter

b.8 May 1895 d.6 December 1962
BA Queen’s(1916) MD CM McGill(1923) MRCP(1934) FRCP(1944)

Carlyle Potter was born in Toronto, the son of James George Potter, D.D., and Annie Abraham, the daughter of a horticulturist. From the High School and the Strathcona College in Montreal he went to Queen’s University, Kingston, and then to the Medical School of McGill University, thus showing inordinate courage despite his life-long disability. He suffered his first pathological fracture at the age of nine; a further seventeen injuries condemned him to irons and crutches a few years later. In 1926 he came to England, after an operation by Sir Robert Jones, held resident posts at and Paddington Green Children’s Hospital, the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases and the Maida Vale Hospital, where he was medical registrar when he took the Membership of the College.

He joined the staff of the West London Hospital as physician-in-charge of the paediatric department in 1938, and later that of the Kingsbury Maternity Hospital, and became lecturer in paediatrics at Guy’s Hospital Medical School. Although in his last years he had many spontaneous fractures from bone metastases he continued his work, driving a second-hand Daimler which had been adapted for hand-control.

Potter never had self-pity. Serene and human in his clinical approach, his charming smile endeared him to his patients, to worried parents and to students. His work at the Sunshine Home for Blind Babies was his main hobby; his only other interest was gardening in the greenhouse of his home at Barnet. In his will he left an eighth of the residue of his estate to the College. He was unmarried.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1962, 2, 1332; Lancet, 1962, 2, 1061-2, 1177.]

(Volume V, page 337)

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