b.12 July 1916 d.27 December 1984
BA Cantab(1937) MB BChir(1940) MRCP(1942) FRCP(1970)
Louis Smith was born at Barnard Castle, North Yorkshire. His father, also Louis, was an engineer and his mother, Mary Dent, the daughter of a local farmer. He was educated at Barnard Castle School, going on to Cambridge where he obtained first class honours in Part I of the natural sciences tripos. He proceeded to clinical studies at St Bartholomew’s Hospital where he became house physician after qualification. Later, he worked as a house physician at the London Chest Hospital before going to the Bradford Royal Infirmary. On the inception of the NHS he became consultant physician at the Infirmary, and at St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford.
As a physician he was conscientious to a fault. He took endless trouble, but would lie awake at night worrying about his patients and was sometimes reluctant to discharge them if any uncertainty remained. This prompted him to abandon private practice and take a full time contract; it was the same character trait - in addition to later spells of depression - which precipitated his early retirement at the age of 60. He was happiest in his large and busy diabetic clinic where he was rightly confident of his ability to deal with anything that presented itself. Had the system permitted, he would have liked to devote all his time to his chosen specialty of diabetes.
He had a small circle of friends, but few could claim to know him well. He was a retiring man, who disliked public occasions, and his colleagues were beginning to regard him as a confirmed bachelor when, at the age of 42, he abandoned his single life in a small residential hotel and married Eileen O’Mahoney who was at that time working as a senior house officer at St Luke’s Hospital. Both were devout Roman Catholics, and they moved into an attractive house with a large garden which became his major leisure interest. He loved the Yorkshire Dales, and was a keen fell walker and a knowledgeable bird watcher. He also liked to visit country churches, on which he was something of an expert. He enjoyed his retirement and remained active up to the time of his sudden and unexpected death. His wife survived him, but they had no children.
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
(Volume VIII, page 475)
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