Lives of the fellows

Patrick Arthur Thorn

b.22 November 1919 d.10 July 2000
MRCS LRCP(1942) MB BS Lond(1942) MD(1947) DCH(1947) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1969)

Patrick Arthur Thorn, 'Pat' to his friends, was a consultant physician in Wolverhampton. He was a robust man, an innovator, an educator and a good friend and colleague who always had a friendly word even in adversity.

Son of a Harrow general practitioner, he received his early education at Orley Farm School, Harrow, and Marlborough College, qualifying from the Middlesex Hospital medical school in 1942. Immediately thereafter he saw service as a medical officer in the Royal Navy Voluntary Reserve on a number of ships including HMS Prince Albert. Upon discharge he embarked upon a career in medicine with senior registrarships at the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, between 1949 and 1955.

His appointment as consultant physician to the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton, in 1955 was of great benefit to his patients in general, and diabetic patients in particular, for he was one of the first physicians to institute a dedicated diabetes clinic and subsequently satellite general practitioner units. This was an interest which he pursued with vigour, distinction and dedication until his retirement in 1984. He was a superb and intuitive physician and a much respected colleague who for many years organised post-graduate courses conducted mainly in the evenings. Furthermore he facilitated links with the Cork medical school both at an undergraduate and post-graduate level.

He was a keen sportsman and formidable hockey player who represented Staffordshire at Hockey between 1949 and 1952. He also fostered hospital cricket matches. He enthusiastically promoted reunions for past Royal Hospital junior doctors and consultants until his retirement and for several years thereafter.

His hobbies included gardening, photography and local medical history on which he lectured. In his later years he developed a considerable interest in the canals of the West Midlands, in the latter regard contributing a number of articles to Waterways World and other magazines.

He was always affable and had a friendly word for all and sundry. He was dedicated to his wife Joan to whom he was married for more than 50 years and by whom he had two daughters. His final protracted illness was borne with fortitude and dignity and the brave support of his wife, family and friends.

R C Hughes

[Brit.med.J., 2000,321,575]

(Volume XI, page 581)

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