Lives of the fellows

Harold Trevor Newton Sears

b.29 December 1919 d.17 November 1995
MB BS Lond(1943) MRCS LRCP(1943) MRCP(1944) MD(1952) FRCP(1976)

Harold Trevor Newton Sears was one of the few general practitioners to become a Fellow of the College. He was born in London and brought up in an atmosphere of medicine and music, his father being a general practitioner and his mother a singer. He was educated at Westminster School and St Thomas’s Hospital, London, qualifying in medicine in 1943. A year later he joined the RAMC and served in Italy, firstly in a field ambulance, then as a RMO to the Kent Yeomanry, and finally as a medical specialist with the rank of major. In 1948 he became a senior medical registrar at the Prince of Wales’ Hospital, Plymouth, and then returned to London, to St Thomas’s in 1950.

After three years at St Thomas’s he decided to enter general practice rather than wait in a long pre-consultant queue. This was a decision he never regretted. He joined a practice in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, and loved the work, quickly becoming immersed in it. He was soon invited by Robert Platt [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.470] to run a newly established clinic at the Manchester Royal Infirmary to evaluate drug therapy in severe hypertension. Over the next twenty five years the treatments ranged from reserpine to beta-blockers. He wrote many papers on the subject and spoke at many symposia.

He wrote chapters on hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. On the lighter side, he was approached to write a paperback and this he did in 1968, when he wrote Do something about those arteries (London, Tandem). It was later published in America and as a hardback in this country.

In 1961 he was awarded an Upjohn fellowship and in 1962 spent six months living with his family in New England on a Nuffield foundation fellowship. From there he travelled widely, visiting centres concerned with hypertension and it’s treatment, especially from the point of view of a general practitioner.

His interests included photography, gardening, travel and music. He was a member of the Hallé Concerts Society and one of the original supporters of the annual International Musicians’ Seminar based at Prussia Cove. His special love was opera, and he went whenever possible to performances and was always delighted if a medical meeting in London could be combined with a night at Covent Garden or Glynebourne.

He married Janet Sorley, also a doctor, in 1948 and they had three children. All took up medicine and indeed followed the family tradition of general practice. In 1980 he retired to Swettenham near Holmes Chapel, where he and his wife had bought the disused village school, which they took great pleasure in converting into their retirement home. For ten years he gave lectures on the medical aspects of retirement to ICI and other companies, but equally enjoyed giving talks to local societies on his travels, illustrated by his large collection of slides. He was a keen and regular churchman, and had been a churchwarden. In 1990 they moved to Puddletown to be nearer their family and he spent much of his time caring for his wife, whose health was failing. He died after a short illness.

Charles Sears

[Brit.med.J., 1996,312,633]

(Volume X, page 439)

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