Lives of the fellows

James Gordon Whitwam

b.3 October 1930 d.16 August 2009
MB ChB Leeds PhD MRCP FFARCS FRCP(1983)

James Gordon Whitwam was a professor of clinical anaesthesia at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and a consultant anaesthetist at Hammersmith Hospital. Born in Halifax, he was the son of Harold, who was an engineer. Educated at the Heath Grammar School in Halifax, he studied medicine at Leeds University and the General Infirmary (GIL). Early appointments in Leeds included working at the regional thoracic surgical centre, before he joined the RAF in 1955 to do his National Service and was posted to the Middle East.

On his return, he spent a year from 1958 to 1959, as a registrar in chest medicine in Harrogate before deciding to specialise in anaesthesiology. Until 1964 he held training posts in anaesthesia at the GIL, followed by a year as a visiting faculty member at the Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He then became a research fellow in the department of physiology at Leeds University for three years.

In 1968 he was appointed a consultant anaesthetist to United Leeds Hospitals, and the following year moved to London as a senior lecturer in clinical anaesthesia to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (RPMS). From 1973 to 1983, he was a reader in the department of anaesthetics at the RPMS and was then made a professor. He was also honorary consultant anaesthetist to the Hammersmith Hospital.

His publications included papers on thoracic injuries and results of nerve stimulation experiments in dogs.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed tennis, playing the piano and listening to classical music, and bridge.

He married in 1960 and had a son and daughter. He and his wife were divorced six years later.

RCP editor

(Volume XII, page web)

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