b.12 June 1921 d.8 May 2001
MB BS Lond(1944) MRCP(1948) MD(1952) FRCP(1973)
'He came into the heart unit', explained the patient, 'Saw the packet of cigarettes on my locker, which a visitor had left for me, picked them up and threw them away, saying, "You can help yourself more than I ever can if you never smoke again", and I haven't had a smoke since.' It might not always work, but John's straightforward approach did the trick that time, for the patient was talking some twenty years later.
Born in London, John went to Bembridge School, entered Bart's and qualified during the war. His house jobs included house physician to E R Cullinan [Munk's Roll, Vol.V, p.90]. He went on to be a demonstrator in pathology at Bart's, and subsequently senior registrar at the medical professorial unit at St Mary's Paddington. While in the RNVR he spent a year at the Colonial Hospital, Port of Spain, Trinidad, taking part in a survey of endemic disease in schoolchildren.
When the Eastbourne consultant post became vacant it was less than two years after the widespread publicity surrounding another Eastbourne doctor, John Bodkin Adams, who was tried at the Old Bailey for murdering patients, and John sought the opinion of a London colleague as to whether he should apply. He was told, 'You will certainly be short-listed; they will be so keen to see this other Dr Adams'. On his appointment he altered his surname by hyphenating a family name to avoid misunderstanding. Thankfully, there seems to be no precedence where a doctor has found such a step necessary.
He was one of the first to experience the lithotriptor, and his conviction that the therapy would shatter far more than the odd stone showed his pessimistic droll sense of humour at its best.
John took an active interest in medical education and was influential in the formation of the Eastbourne Postgraduate Medical Centre in 1967. He became a member of the General Nursing Council and played an important part in raising the standards of medical care. Outside medicine he was involved in protecting the South Downs for future generations to enjoy.
Predeceased by his first wife, Beth, he is survived by his second wife Patsy, and the four children of his marriage to Beth, two of whom are doctors.
I M Brown
S J Surtees
(Volume XI, page 338)
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