Lives of the fellows

Arthur Sewell Wesson

b.5 April 1904 d.8 May 1946
MB BS Lond(1926) MD Lond(1938) MRCP(1928) FRCS(1936) FRCP(1944)

Arthur Sewell Wesson was born at East Sheen, the youngest of four sons of Frederick William Wesson, solicitor’s clerk, and his wife, the former Louise Haynes Sewell. He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, where he was a scholar, and thereafter at University College and University College Hospital, London, where he became house physician to Professor T. R. Elliott, house surgeon to Mr Gwynne Williams, and finally resident medical officer. Subsequently he went to Queen’s Hospital, Birmingham, as a pathologist, and later to the Mile End Hospital, London, where he was deputy medical superintendent.

In 1936 his parent teaching hospital decided to raise the status of the officer-in-charge of the physiotherapy department to that of honorary physician and, after a year of post-graduate study in the United States, Wesson was elected. In the short period between his appointment in 1937 and the outbreak of war he rapidly improved the standing of the department, and physical medicine at University College Hospital soon came to be regarded as a clinical as well as a therapeutic specialty.

In 1940 he joined Frank Howitt’s army team of physical medicine specialists, and did outstanding work in physical development centres in this country and in rehabilitation units in England, North Africa and Italy. He returned to civilian life in the autumn of 1945, but almost immediately contracted the illness from which he died the following May.

Essentially a team-worker, Wesson effaced himself to secure the co-operation and co-ordination of his colleagues, both medical and auxiliary, for he realised that therein lay the key to successful reablement. His cheerfulness and unfailing happy approach sometimes obscured the scope of his knowledge, but it secured the devotion of the physiotherapists, and physical-training instructors whom he delighted to teach, and of his patients who received every ounce of his energy. The concern of his friends of all ages during his illness and their grief when he died were testimony to his charm and ability, and to their affection for him. He was unmarried.

Richard R Trail

[, 1946, 1, 816, 854; Lancet, 1946, 1, 801-02; Lives R.C.S., 835.]

(Volume V, page 442)

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