Lives of the fellows

Philip Edgar Jackson

b.27 November 1920 d.1 July 2000
MB BS Lond(1944) MRCP(1950) MD(1951) FRCP(1971)

Philip was a consultant with a common touch, an uncommon attribute in the top clinicians of his time. His father was an engineer. Born in a comfortable house in south east London, he went to Dulwich prep school and then to Dulwich College before enrolling in St Bartholomew's hospital.

During the war, Bart's was evacuated to Cambridge and there Philip graduated in 1944. A house job under G Graham [Munk's Roll, Vol.VI, p.205] followed. Then Philip was commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps. His war in Italy was brief but eventful and he was mentioned in despatches. At the time of demobilization in 1947 Philip was a major and second in command of the 14th field ambulance unit. His colleagues often asked him about his war service, but modesty prevented Philip from discussing it.

In civilian life Philip decided on a career in hospital medicine. He had resident posts in the Seaman's Hospital, Greenwich, and the London Chest Hospital which then had a heavy caseload of patients with tuberculosis not only from the eastern half of metropolitan London but also referrals from surrounding counties.

In 1953 Philip moved to the Royal Free Hospital as senior medical registrar. Here he had the massive task of co-ordinating the work on the outbreak of encephalomyelitis which became known as the Royal Free disease, described in detail in the British Medical Journal in 1957.

Appointed consultant physician to Stamford and Rutland Hospital and to Peterborough Memorial Hospital in 1958, Philip and his wife Margery settled in the picturesque market town of Stamford. They had met at the London Chest Hospital where Margery had been nursing when Philip was the RMO. They immersed themselves in the life of the community, being active in their church, visiting the disabled and elderly housebound, delivering meals-on-wheels, and also helped the British Red Cross and the Children's Society.

Philip had long been interested in the lower plants and was an amateur expert on the mosses. Indeed, he published Rutland bryophyte flora (Leicester, Leicester Museums Arts and Records Service, Leicestershire County Council, 1990), the definitive work on the mosses of the small county district which lay practically on his doorstep.

In his work as a consultant physician, Philip would see, examine, investigate and if possible send the patient back to his general practitioner with the diagnosis, recommended treatment regime and an offer to review as and when needed. He never had a proprietorial attitude to his 'beds'. The consultants in the minor specialties were always allowed, indeed welcomed, to use the beds in his ward. He treated everybody with courtesy and consideration and was particularly kind and supportive towards his junior colleagues.

He had deep insights into his patients' problems and was particularly effective in identifying non-organic syndromes. He spoke and wrote amusingly. He produced a classic and highly entertaining short paper on the characteristics of the patients he often saw from Bourne, a fenland town to the north of Peterborough.

He was very energetic early in his retirement and particularly enjoyed studying the classics, obtaining a grade A in Latin A level. His research on the mosses of Rutland satisfied not only his biological interest but also his love of classical language. In later years he suffered a deterioration of his hearing which diminished his enjoyment of music and conversation with friends. Several strokes left him increasingly frail and finally he had to enter a nursing home. He died in Stamford and Rutland Hospital in one of his old wards. He was uncomplaining and would say 'I have a lot to be thankful for'.

M W Dronfield
J K Anand

[Brit.med.J., 321,2000,1229]

(Volume XI, page 292)

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