Lives of the fellows

Philip Jacobs

b.26 June 1917 d.12 February 2005
MB ChB Bristol(1940) MRCS LRCP(1941) MRCP(1948) DMRD(1952) FFR(1955) FRCP(1971) FRCR(1975)

Philip Jacobs was a consultant radiologist in Birmingham who maintained the interest and expertise in radiology of the bones and joints of his eminent predecessor James Brailsford [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.46].

Jacobs was born in Bristol, the son of Barnard Jacobs, an antiques dealer, and Ethel Ann née Tidmarsh. After qualifying at Bristol, where he gained the MB ChB gold medal, he completed a house physician post at Bristol Royal Infirmary before being called up. He served in the Indian Medical Service from 1941 to 1946, mainly as a regimental medical officer: he was mentioned in despatches in the Italian campaign. Subsequently he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (Territorial Army), where he was awarded the TD and bar, eventually retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Following active military service, he undertook postgraduate work in general medicine at Bristol and in Winchester, where he was a senior medical registrar for two years. He then trained in diagnostic radiology at University College Hospital, London, followed by four years at the London Hospital, the last two as senior registrar.

In 1955 he was appointed consultant radiologist to Birmingham General Hospital, Birmingham Accident Hospital and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham. In 1958 he became a consultant radiologist at the Warwickshire Orthopaedic Hospital for Children. These appointments gave him unique experience in all branches of skeletal radiology and led to the publication of some 30 papers on orthopaedic imaging. He also contributed chapters to several books, including early editions of Sutton’s Textbook of radiology, the major British radiological textbook. In 1973 he published an Atlas of hand radiographs (London, Harvey Miller and Metcalf). He fulfilled departmental commitments throughout his career, often in the face of staff shortages and increasing workload.

He had a considerable teaching commitment, not just in Birmingham but in London and other centres. He was a visiting professor at several centres in the US and was honoured by being made a life member of the Radiological Society of North America.

He had extensive experience as a medical editor. He was the last editor of the Journal of the Faculty of Radiologists and the first editor of Clinical Radiology. He also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and Skeletal Radiology.

A founder member of the International Skeletal Society, he was a regular attendee and lecturer at Society meetings in Europe and North America. On retirement he was honoured by being made an honorary member of the Society. He served on the council of the Royal College of Radiologists and was appointed Robert Knox lecturer in 1978. For a period he was president of the radiological section of the Royal Society of Medicine. He was an associate fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association. An interest in dysbaric osteonecrosis in compressed air workers led to his being asked to serve on the MRC research panel.

Following his compulsory retirement from the NHS, he spent a most enjoyable year as professor of musculo-skeletal imaging at the University of Utah, USA, and was pleased to receive their distinguished teaching award.

Outside interests included photography and steam railways. He travelled widely and had an interest in natural history. He had been a keen sportsman, captaining his university in both athletics and cross-country running; he represented his county in both activities.

Above all, he was a good friend and companion, interested in many things outside medicine. He had a good, sometimes wicked, sense of humour and occasionally a mischievous tendency to indulge in stage whispers. His wife Dorothy, also a medical practitioner, predeceased him in 2001. He leaves two daughters (Philippa and Bethan) and two grandsons.

Dennis Stoker

[Brit.med.J.,2005 330 1089]

(Volume XII, page web)

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