Lives of the fellows

Leslie Gordon Scott

b.5 May 1916 d.26 March 2006
MRCS LRCP(1939) MB BS Lond(1940) MRCP(1949) MD(1951) FRCP(1969)

Leslie Gordon Scott was a consultant paediatrician in the Eastbourne and Hastings area. Qualifying before the start of the National Health Service and the ready availability of penicillin, Scott represented the junior doctors when a committee of various disciplines, chaired by Sir Alexander Fleming [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.132], assembled to decide how the new wonder cure should be distributed.

Scott was born in Sanderstead, Surrey, the son of Walter Scott, a civil servant, and Lucy Ann née Shakel, a music teacher. Educated at Whitgift School and Guy’s Hospital, he qualified in 1939. His first posting to Tunbridge Wells included treating Dunkirk evacuees as they moved up from the Channel ports, and then Battle of Britain pilots shot down over the local countryside. In the latter he was able to observe at first hand the pioneering treatment of burns being undertaken by Sir Archibald McIndoe at nearby East Grinstead.

Joining the Royal Air Force, he served as a medical officer in North Africa and Italy. In 1943 he was despatched to Cairo to sit the examination for membership of the College, one of the first times the exam had been held outside the UK. Asked to diagnose a clinical condition in an Egyptian patient, an Italian prisoner of war was provided as an interpreter. It turned out that the man spoke little Arabic and even less English. The examination was not a success.

After the war, Scott decided to specialise in paediatrics. He studied at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and in 1950 was appointed consultant to the Eastbourne and Hastings group of hospitals. With his membership of the College now secured (he was later elected a Fellow), and with a London MD degree conferred, Scott spent the next 30 years building up the paediatric service in that part of East Sussex. He took a special interest in the treatment of asthma, challenging the received wisdom that good sea air would cure patients. He believed that the absence of stress in a patient’s metabolism was far more important. As medical officer to Pilgrims School in Seaford for the severely asthmatic, run by the charity I CAN (then the Invalid Children’s Aid Association), he was able to see a wide range of cases over the years.

A committed Christian, he took an active part in the church life of the area, and was co-founder of the Bexhill Crusaders, a bible class for young people. In his long retirement he was church secretary, chairman of the governors at Pilgrims School, a vice president of I CAN, and was able to pursue his other interests of Sussex county cricket, Crystal Palace football club, and his beloved garden. He married in 1947 Esmé Pascall who died in 1989. He is survived by three daughters and two sons.

Christopher Scott

[Brit.med.J.,2006 333 658]

(Volume XII, page web)

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