Lives of the fellows

Francis John Yellowlees Wood

b.10 June 1914 d.20 January 1995
BA Cantab(1937) MRCS LRCP(1940) MB Bchir(1941) MRCP(1950) MD(1953) FRCP(1969)

Francis Wood was born at Keighley, Yorkshire, where his father, John Wood, was a clerk in holy orders. He was educated at Bradford Grammar School and went on to study medicine at Cambridge University and St Thomas’s Hospital, London. He qualified at the beginning of the Second World War and his first house posts were in the emergency medical services at Botley’s Park Hospital and St Thomas’s Hospital at Hydstile. In 1942 he joined the RAMC and spent a considerable part of his war service in charge of medical beds in the hospital ships Aba and Oxfordshire. After the war his first post was as house physician at the Royal Cornwall Infirmary, Truro, followed by a similar post at Southampton. He was appointed medical registrar at Bristol Royal Infirmary in 1950 and subsequently took up a research fellowship at Cornell, USA, where he studied renal tubular acidosis. This work was the subject of his doctoral thesis, leading to his MD. Back in Britain, he became senior medical registrar at St Thomas’s Hospital and in 1959 he married Lorna Hague, daughter of a schoolmaster. They had one daughter.

In 1961 Francis was appointed consultant physician in the Somerset area, based at Yeovil. At that time he was a single-handed physician, coping not only with all the acute admissions, but also with the responsibility for the geriatric beds in what were then extremely rundown facilities. The new Yeovil District Hospital was opened in 1973 and Francis’ work then changed. He was no longer responsible for geriatric patents and he took on a greater administrative role. He also became very active in postgraduate medical education. He helped to raise funds for the new postgraduate centre and was the first postgraduate tutor. An annual lecture, which is now in its twentieth year, is named after him.

Francis retired from the NHS at the age of 65 and took on the post of physician in charge at the Royal Chelsea Hospital where he was responsible for medical services to the Chelsea pensioners, a task he greatly enjoyed. His five years at the Chelsea Hospital were very much to his liking as he had a great respect for military history and tradition.

He was by nature a very quiet and reserved man whose life seemed always to be spent in the service of others. In his early consultant days he carried a workload that would be unacceptable nowadays but he never complained and seemed to look for additional things to undertake. When he finally retired at the age of 70 he busied himself with his hobbies. He was a very skilled painter in oils and a capable amateur geologist. He enjoyed nothing better than going on residential geology field trips. Sadly, his health deteriorated in the last few years and he died six months after his 80th birthday.

F X M Beach

[Brit.med.J., 1995,311,254]

(Volume X, page 530)

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