Lives of the fellows

Rupert Waterhouse

b.15 January 1873 d.1 September 1958
MB Lond(1900) MD Lond(1903) MRCS LRCP(1897) MRCP(1908) FRCP(1929)

Rupert Waterhouse, the son of John Hodgson Waterhouse, M.D., and his wife, Lucy (née Frith) Waterhouse, was born in Sheffield where his father was in practice. He was a descendant of Sir Gilbert Waterhouse, surgeon to Sheffield Royal Infirmary.

He was educated at Sheffield Collegiate School, Wesley College and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. In 1901 he settled in Bath, where he held in succession the posts of resident medical officer to the Royal United and Royal Mineral Water Hospitals, curator of the museum and pathologist to the former, and finally honorary physician to both.

In the 1914-18 War he served first as a combatant in the North Somerset Yeomanry and then with the R.A.M.C, in Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine and France. He commanded the S.W. Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance and later the 4th Southern General Hospital. During the Second World War he returned from retirement to become clinical pathologist to the Royal United Hospital.

Clinical pathology was Waterhouse’s main interest, and he was one of the first in this field. In the purely clinical field he had a special interest in the rheumatic diseases. His name is perpetuated in the Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome of adrenal failure due to bilateral adrenal haemorrhage, which he described in 1911 (Lancet, 1911, 1, 577-8). He was the founder president of the Bath Clinical Society, and president of the Bath, Bristol, and Somerset branch and chairman of the Bath division of the B.M.A.

Waterhouse had a ready, sometimes mordant wit, and was a brilliant after-dinner speaker. He could be highly critical of mumbo-jumbo and loose thinking, and was interested more in the facts of medicine that in its gainful possibilities. In his later years he was handicapped by deafness and by lameness due to osteoarthritis and Paget’s disease of the hip, but was never heard to complain. Though for a number of years before his death he did not practise medicine, he was always available for advice which was kindly, critical and often witty. He was interested in literature, played an excellent hand of bridge, and remained to the end keenly interested in the affairs of the College.

In 1919 he married Mabel Dorothy, eldest daughter of J. Connor, of Maidstone. He died at the age of eighty-five leaving her, a son and a daughter.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1958, 2, 694 (p); Lancet, 1958, 2, 593; Times, 2 Sept. 1958.]

(Volume V, page 434)

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