Lives of the fellows

John Michael Dawson

b.4 May 1934 d.30 August 2012
MB BChir Cantab(1959) MRCS LRCP(1959) MRCP(1964) FRCR(1968) FRCP(1978)

John Michael Dawson was a consultant radiologist at King’s College Hospital and the Guy’s and Maudsley neurosurgical unit. Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, he was the son of Edward Lionel Dawson, who was a research chemist. Educated at Manchester Grammar School, having won a scholarship, he then studied medicine at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, with a Tancred Scholarship in physic. On completing his early training at Guy’s Hospital, he won the cardiology prize and thought originally to follow that specialty. After house jobs at Guy’s, the Brompton Hospital, the National Hospital, Queen Square and the Whittington he changed his mind and decided to specialise in radiology.

He began training with Robert Steiner [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web] at the Hammersmith Hospital in late 1963 and stayed there as registrar and senior registrar for the next six years. After that he spent some time at Great Ormond Street and the National Hospital, Queen Square. In 1970 he was appointed consultant radiologist at King’s College Hospital. Later appointments followed at the Guy’s and Maudsley neurosurgical unit and he was also a consultant at Guy’s and the Cromwell Hospital.

Retiring after a distinguished career in 1999, he busied himself with his various interests. He loved antiquarian books and, over the years, acquired a superb collection of first editions and unique bindings which, it has been remarked, ‘became his wallpaper’. Teaching himself to be an expert in native dialect terms, he compiled accounts of those used in the North of England and also further afield such as Australia, the Netherlands and Jamaica. In pursuit of this the British Library became a second home to him. He enjoyed sailing and was passionate about nature – fell walking in his youthful haunts such as Langdale and Scafell Pike gave him great pleasure.

In 1964 he married Bridget Helena née Tyack whose father, Michael George Tyack, was a school master. They adopted two daughters. He suffered a frontal lobe cerebral haemorrhage in 2005 which caused rapidly increasing dementia and he died seven years later as the result of a second. Bridget survived him, together with their daughters, Caroline and Julia.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2012 345 6930 - accessed 20 November 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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