Lives of the fellows

John Forrest Goodwin

b.1 December 1918 d.7 June 2001
MB BS Lond(1942) MRCS LRCP(1942) MRCP(1944) MD(1946) FRCP(1957) FACC(1967) Hon MD Lisbon(1984) Hon FACP(1984) FESC(1989)

John Goodwin was a cardiologist, teacher and author, who combined a scientific interest in heart disease with outstanding clinical ability. One of his main interests was the study of cardiomyopathy, and his work and teaching influenced its understanding worldwide. He was a leader in cardiology, both nationally and internationally.

He was the son of Colonel W R P Goodwin and Myrtle Dale Goodwin (née Forrest). He was educated at Cheltenham College and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, qualifying MB BS in 1942, and becoming MD in 1946. He passed his membership of the College in 1944, and was elected to the Fellowship in 1957.

In 1946 he became medical first assistant at the Royal Infirmary in Sheffield. He went on to become a lecturer in the department of medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and consulting physician at Hammersmith Hospital in 1949, and was later promoted to senior lecturer and subsequently professor of clinical cardiology. In 1985 he was chairman of the Coronary Prevention Group UK, and, from 1987 to 1993, he was chairman of the National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Prevention, among other appointments.

Goodwin took an active interest in many learned societies, and was an honorary member of the British Cardiac Society, having been its treasurer and president, and an honorary member of the Association of European Paediatric Cardiologists and the Cardiac Societies of Switzerland, Italy, Venezuala, Mexico, Equador, Argentina, Greece, Australia, New Zealand and the Burma Medical Association. He was also a member of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland and the Medical Research Society and had been an assistant editor of the British Heart Journal.

At the College he was second vice president from 1979 to 1980, a member of council, secretary and chairman of the cardiology committee, and chairman of the specialist advisory committee on cardiovascular disease of the joint committee on higher medical training. He was also a Lumleian lecturer.

Goodwin was also past president of the International Society and Federation of Cardiology, a former adviser in cardiology to the chief medical officer of the Department of Health and Social Security in London, and a member of World Health Organisation expert committee on cardiovascular disease.

Goodwin wrote easily and well. Although his publications were mainly on the subject of cardiomyopathy, its definition and classification, he was author and co-author of numerous papers on congenital heart disease, pulmonary vascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, and coronary heart disease. He was co-editor or co-author of a number of books, including Clinical disorders of the pulmonary circulation (London, J&A Churchill, 1960), Congestive cardiomyopathy (Molndal, Hassele Lakemedel, 1981), Heart muscle disease (Lancaster, MTP Press, 1985) and Advances in cardiomyopathies (Berlin, Springer, 1990).

Goodwin was much appreciated as a lecturer and teacher and ran a very successful department of cardiology at Hammersmith Hospital, organising conferences there and in association with the National Heart Hospital. He was an excellent bedside teacher, and his opinion as a consultant cardiologist was widely sought. He looked after many colleagues and their families and a number of heads of state. He was a modest and courteous man and was universally liked. He gave constant and generous support to those who worked with him, and was an excellent ambassador for his country when abroad.

Throughout a very busy professional life John Goodwin remained always a family man. He was very close to his two older brothers, who had distinguished service careers. He was married to Barbara Cameron Robertson from 1943 until his death and was devoted to her. She survives him, together with his son and daughter, who held him in the highest regard in every way. He took great pleasure in family life, and showed to the members of his family the extraordinary qualities of thoughtfulness and consideration that were characteristic of him.

Lawson McDonald

[The Times 28 Aug 2001]

(Volume XI, page 226)

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