Lives of the fellows

Jack Rubie

b.10 November 1914 d.2 May 1983
MRCS LRCP(1939) MB BS Lond(1939) MD(1948) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1971)

Jack Rubie was an undergraduate at King’s College Hospital and qualified in 1939. He worked as a house physician at Paddington Hospital, London, and Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, before joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in December 1940. He served as a medical officer in the Royal Air Force until 1946.

After the war he started his career in paediatrics. He was a senior registrar at Highgate Hospital, working with the MRC streptomycin unit treating tuberculous meningitis with intrathecal streptomycin. He then worked as a senior casualty physician at Great Ormond Street, and first assistant to the paediatric department of St George’s Hospital, before being appointed assistant to the Nuffield professor of child health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hackney in 1953-1954.

In 1954 he was appointed consultant paediatrician to King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor, Upton Hospital, Slough, and Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot. With his energy, encyclopaedic knowledge and sensitivity he soon built up a busy, efficient department. He was involved in the design and development of Wexham Park Hospital, and insisted on excellent facilities for the mothers to live in with their children, and plenty of play facilities for the children. Very soon most of the children on the ward had their parents with them. His ward rounds were always informative and enjoyable, with his great sense of humour and fund of stories enlightening the procedure, but his alert mind never missed any detail. He had a phenomenal memory for written articles and could usually quote references with amazing accuracy.

Jack had a great interest in cerebral palsy and was appointed to the Spastic Society almost at its inception in 1955. He established a system whereby patients with cerebral palsy were assessed by a paediatrician, clinical psychologist and social worker with a view to the best possible placement, whether in a school, residential institution, sheltered workshop, etc., before the concept of assessment had been established. He travelled a great deal visiting spastic patients in their homes when they were unable to travel to assessment panels, and visiting schools throughout the British Isles and Channel Islands. He developed a tremendous feeling for their problems and always approached them with great commonsense.

He left behind an assessment panel system which was well established, and which was much appreciated by patients and by referring doctors.

Jack also travelled widely, lecturing on cerebral palsy in the Far East and America, as well as Europe. His lectures were always prepared with great care and good humour and were often provocative.

Jack’s other main interest was the mentally retarded child. He was appointed consultant paediatrician to the Ravenswood Foundation and Village Settlement, and with his advice and energy he helped to develop this unit into one of the most outstanding residential centres for the mentally handicapped in this country. In his last five years Jack developed a relationship between Ravenswood and King’s College Hospital, and was appointed honorary senior lecturer in King’s College Medical School, and thus became involved in the teaching of mental handicap to the medical students.

After Jack retired from the health service in 1980 he continued his work with the Spastics Society, and at Ravenswood and King’s College Hospital. He was also appointed a member of the commission to investigate the vaccine damaged children, and was appointed paediatric advisor to the Thalidamide Trust.

Jack’s life was devoted to his work and family. He was very fond of both his parents and contacted his mother almost daily. His father, who died in his late 80s, had the same dynamic personality and showed a similar energy and love of work.

Jack and his wife Hilda (née Cadle), who were married in 1941, were a devoted couple. They supported and complemented each other throughout their married life and had one son, David, who became a solicitor.

Aileen B Donnison

[Brit.med.J., 1983, 286, 1907]

(Volume VII, page 509)

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