Lives of the fellows

Donald Cameron Watson

b.13 October 1919 d.11 August 2000
MC(1945) MRCS LRCP(1942) MB ChB Liverp(1942) MRCP(1948) MD(1952) FRCP(1969)

Donald Watson was a consultant physician at the Royal Liverpool and Sefton General Hospitals and lecturer in clinical medicine at the University of Liverpool. The son of an industrial chemist, he was born in St Helens where he attended the Cowley Grammar School. He started studying medicine in Oct 1936, his year being the last who were required to have completed six academic years before qualifying.

He was called up to the RAMC six months after gaining the conjoint qualification and was posted to a tank regiment destined for North Africa. His regiment was in many battles in Tunisia and Italy and he was awarded the Military Cross. When the war in Europe was nearing its end he was flown across the Atlantic and Pacific to become the senior medical officer of Borneo with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

Back in civilian life in Liverpool he passed the membership examination of the College in 1948, entitling him to be graded senior registrar at the start of the NHS. He worked at first in the David Lewis Northern Hospital under H S Pemberton [Munk's Roll, Vol.V, p.327], a specialist in diabetes, and A Thelwall Jones, an industrial medicine expert. He developed an interest in congenital heart disease and was involved in pioneering radiological investigations, with the radiological registrar G M Ardran [Munk's Roll, Vol.X, p.11] changing the cassettes manually. Their work extended to peripheral arteries and he published a paper on anterior tibial syndrome following arterial embolism. Later he rotated to the Liverpool Royal Infirmary under Henry Cohen [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.106].

The Army had recognised Don's administrative ability in the Borneo appointment as did the Regional Hospital Board when he was appointed physician superintendent of Sefton General Hospital in 1957. Here he was responsible for the setting up of the first renal dialysis unit in Liverpool. He published papers on the management of acute renal failure, on staphylococcal sepsis and on viral hepatitis.

After a few years he had become a full-time consultant physician and in the 1970s his duties were extended to the Northern Hospital and the new Royal Liverpool Hospital. Much respected by his colleagues he was honoured in 1977 by being elected president of the Liverpool Medical Institution.

When on embarkation leave in January 1943 Don married Joan, daughter of H K Branch who had an engineering works in Runcorn. They were a supremely happy couple and had two sons and two daughters. After Don retired in 1985 they moved to Long Crendon near Aylesbury in order to be nearer three of their children. They played a full part in the life of the village. Don was the footpaths officer and researcher for the Long Crendon Preservation Society and Joan was active in the painting group.

They much enjoyed frequent visits to the West End and Oxford theatres, and shared many interests including opera, bridge, travel and birdwatching. Each spring they went to Majorca for the migration and they also visited their son in Montreal. They travelled to New Zealand, Chile, Moscow and China, in addition to many holidays in Italy.

Don will be remembered by his family and many friends as a modest, kind man with a keen sense of humour and high standards of wisdom and integrity.

Richard B McConnell

(Volume XI, page 605)

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