Lives of the fellows

Jon Wilfred Scopes

b.20 November 1930 d.10 April 1999
MB BS Lond(1953) MRCS LRCP(1953) MRCP(1958) DCH(1959) PhD(1965) FRCP(1971)

Jon Wilfred Scopes was a professor of paediatrics at St Thomas's Hospital, London, and a pioneer in the development of special care baby units. He was one of the last professors of paediatrics to combine general paediatric skills with an academic interest in neonatology. He was born in Madanapalle, in south India, the son of Wilfred Scopes, a minister of religion, and Edith Anne née Hacker, a nurse. He was sent to England at the age of seven for his schooling and was educated at Eltham College. He then went on to St Mary's Hospital medical school in London. He held house posts at St Mary's, Great Ormond Street and in Ealing, Edgware and Rochford.

He then spent a year as a ship's surgeon on the liner Orion, in lieu of National Service. It was here he developed his interest in the treatment of children and on his return to the UK he became a paediatric registrar at the Evelina Children's Hospital, part of Guy's.

He left to begin the research for his doctorate at Oxford. His PhD thesis on the optimum consumption of oxygen by newborn infants led to the more effective use of oxygen in the treatment of premature babies. In 1965 he was appointed as a senior lecturer and honorary consultant paediatrician at the Institute of Child Health, becoming a reader in 1970. In 1966 he was a visiting lecturer at Columbia University, New York. In 1973 he became head of the paediatric department at St Thomas's Hospital, where he established the neonatal intensive care unit that bears his name.

He was a keen rugby supporter: his enthusiasm was never diminished despite an accident during a game as a student that left him with temporary quadriplegia. He was a long-term president of the St Thomas's rugby club and a loyal supporter at Twickenham. His other hobbies included medicine, gardening and walking. He married Evelyn in 1959 and they had two daughters.

[Brit.med.J., 2000,320,876; The Daily Telegraph 25 June 1999]

(Volume XI, page 504)

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