Lives of the fellows

James Picton Douglas Thomas

b.4 September 1924 d.13 August 2007
BA Cantab(1944) MB BChir(1948) MRCP(1953) MD(1956) FRCP(1970)

James Picton Douglas Thomas (known as ‘Picton’) was a senior physician at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), Cardiff. He was born in Pembrey, Camarthenshire, the son of Rhys Douglas Thomas, a greengrocer, and Evelyn Maud Thomas née Edwards. He won a scholarship to Ellesmere College and Dean Close School in Shropshire, and then went on to Cambridge University and St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, London. He qualified MB Chir in 1948 and was a house surgeon to Geoffrey Keynes [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.319] and Alec Badenoch at Bart’s. He then served in the Royal Air Force for two years for his National Service.

In 1950 he was a house physician to E A Danino [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.142] at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. He then returned to Bart’s as a demonstrator in physiology, a registrar to Ronald Bodley Scott [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.521] and then a lecturer in medicine. He gained his MRCP in 1953 and an MD in 1956 for his thesis on ‘The optimum rate and depth of breathing’.

From 1958 to 1960, he was a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, investigating adrenal steroid hormones.

He returned to London as a research fellow to John McMichael [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.341], before moving back to Wales as a lecturer and then senior lecturer in medicine at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary and the Welsh National School of Medicine. In 1977 he became a full-time NHS consultant, as a senior physician at UHW. He retired in 1989.

During his time at Cardiff, he established the academic and clinical specialty of endocrinology in Wales and set up the first women’s hormone replacement therapy clinic at UHW. He was also an acclaimed teacher of undergraduate medical students and postgraduate doctors, and was particularly known for his MRCP tutorials.

Outside medicine, he listed reading, travel and golf as his interests. He was survived by his wife Mollie, his first wife Jenny and their three children, Belinda, Kevin and Ian.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2007 335 943]

(Volume XII, page web)

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