Lives of the fellows

Norman Lloyd Rusby

b.26 October 1905 d.22 November 1988
MRCS LRCP(1931) MA BM BCh Oxon(1931) MRCP(1933) DM(1941) FRCP(1948)

Lloyd was the son of Edward Lionel Macpherson Rusby, a general practitioner in Brixton, and Katherine Helen, née Wright. He was always known to his friends as Lloyd, and to others as Lloyd-Rusby. Lloyd was not a family name; his father, when registering his birth, forgot the agreed names and his mother strongly objected to the name Norman - so the baby was referred to as Lloyd, and Lloyd he remained.

Lloyd was educated at boarding schools; Winchester House preparatory school, Lancing College and St John’s College, Oxford, where he took an honours degree in physiology in 1928. After graduation in medicine, he held junior appointments at St Thomas’s Hospital in 1932, then started his training in thoracic medicine at the London Chest Hospital and, during a house appointment there, obtained his membership of the College.

In January 1934 he was appointed resident medical officer at the London Chest Hospital, and subsequently medical registrar. He was elected physician to the hospital in 1936, and combined this with the appointment of medical registrar and tutor at the Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith.

During the second world war he was directed to be resident medical superintendent at the London Chest Hospital, where he and others were subjected to many high explosive and fire bomb attacks. It was at this time that he met and married his house physician, Elizabeth Broadhead.

Lloyd was in charge of the hospital when, in 1941, it received a direct hit from enemy bombers, a whole wing was destroyed and the evacuation of patients and the treatment of casualties were his responsibility. At the same time, he acted as assistant physician at the West London Hospital in place of a colleague on active service. He was also editor of Tubercle, and a member of the standing advisory committee on tuberculosis.

On cessation of hostilities in Europe and the return of colleagues from active service, Lloyd was called up for service in the RAMC. This was unfortunate since many senior hospital appointments left vacant during the war were now being filled. He was posted first to Normandy, then Brussels, and subsequently as consulting physician Middle East Land Forces, with the rank of local brigadier.

On his return to civilian life in 1946 he was appointed assistant physician to the London Hospital; this was followed by appointments to Benenden, King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, and civilian consultant in diseases of the chest to the Royal Navy. He was Nuffield visitor to East Africa in 1950, and he lectured for the British Council in Europe and the Middle and Far East. He gave the Mitchell lecture at the College in 1967, and was a member of Council. He was also examiner for the College, and for the universities of London, Cambridge and Wales.

From 1957-77 he was vice-chairman of the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association, a member of the British Heart Foundation and of the Metropolitan Hospital Sunday Fund, a member of the board of governors of the London Hospital and of the Hospital for Diseases of the Chest and a member of the British Thoracic Society and of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland. He was joint editor of Recent Advances in respiratory tuberculosis, 4th and 5th editions, 1948 and 1959, and contributed papers on pneumonia, pulmonary embolism and infarction to Chest Diseases, edited by K M A Perry and Sir Thomas Holmes Sellors, 1963. Lloyd’s MD thesis on ‘Dermoid cysts and teratoma of the mediastinum’ was published in the Journal of Thoracic Surgery, 13,169-222, June 1944.

Lloyd Rusby was the old-style English gentleman. He was a family man whose home was well ordered; he liked company, and those who enjoyed his hospitality will always remember the small Georgian silver salver on which he passed drinks to his guests and the slim-stemmed pipe he smoked. He had no great athletic ability, though he played cricket for his school on occasions.

Lloyd’s meticulous dress and scholarly appearance, with an unhurried calm and equable temperament, gave confidence to his patients. His sound judgement and firmness of decision were reflected in the number of bodies on whose councils he served. His opinion and advice were sought both by senior and junior colleagues, who found him easy to approach with their problems. He had a good sense of humour and appreciated a joke, even against himself. He used a monocle for close inspection and this, together with other little mannerisms, made him an ideal subject for mimicry in the students’ Christmas shows.

In his younger days, Lloyd was a keen lepidopterist and he had a very respectable collection of British butterflies; he used to spend weekends tracking down uncommon species, with two of his colleagues. After the war, however, this interest declined. He had no other hobbies, but he developed an interest in cricket and became a member of the MCC. On retirement his visits to Lords became frequent. His main relaxation was English literature and history.

Lloyd Rusby was an excellent committee man and this was probably his main contribution to medicine.

He married Elizabeth Broadhead, a doctor and daughter of an architect, Frank Arthur Broadhead FRIBA, in 1941 and they had three sons. They all survived him.

EH Hudson

[Brit.med.J., l989,298,24]

(Volume VIII, page 427)

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