Lives of the fellows

Edward Palmer Poulton

b.1 October 1883 d.18 October 1939
BM BCh Oxon(1910) MA DM MRCS FRCP(1917)

Edward Poulton was born at Oxford, the elder son of Sir Edward Poulton, F.R.S, Hope professor of zoology in the University. He was educated at the Dragon School, at Rugby, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in natural science, and did his clinical training at Guy’s Hospital, taking the B.M, B.Ch, degrees in 1910. A year later, having held house appointments at Guy’s, he won the Radcliffe travelling fellowship and worked under Müller at Munich. He returned to Guy’s in 1912 as demonstrator of physiology, and in 1914, after a year as registrar, was elected assistant physician. In 1914, too, he was awarded a Beit memorial research fellowship. His appointment as full physician took place in 1926; and he was also on the visiting staff of Lewisham Hospital. He delivered the Goulstonian Lectures at the Royal College of Physicians in 1918 and the Oliver-Sharpey Lecture in 1928.

Poulton’s attitude to medicine was largely determined by his knowledge of physiology, and it was in the domain of physiology that he achieved most. Under his influence Guy’s became a centre first for research in diabetes and then for oxygen therapy; he himself devised an oxygen tent that was widely used. In addition, he edited the twelfth and subsequent editions of Taylor’s Practice of Medicine. Poulton won his half-blue for hockey as an undergraduate and excelled at games until it was discovered that he had a heart lesion. He married in 1911 Elfrida, daughter of Charles Maclean of Glenearn and had three sons and two daughters. He died at Tunbridge Wells, where a section of Guy’s Hospital had taken up temporary quarters on the outbreak of war.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1939; B.M.J., 1939; Nature, 9 Dec. 1939]

(Volume IV, page 554)

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