Lives of the fellows

Anthony James Moon

b.27 September 1920 d.26 January 2015
MB BS Lond(1943) MRCS LRCP(1943) MRCP(1947) FRCP(1970)

Anthony Moon, known as ‘Tony’, was a consultant chest physician at Harefield, Hillingdon and Mount Vernon hospitals. He was born in Fulham, London, the son of Archibald Moon, an insurance broker, and Elsie Whitworth Moon née Broadhurst, the daughter of a medical practitioner. Tony was educated at St Paul’s School, cycling there every day from his home in Putney. A lifelong ambition was fulfilled when he qualified as a doctor at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School in 1943, however immediate practise of medicine was denied him. After an X-ray at Colney Hatch Hospital, he was found to have pulmonary tuberculosis. Treatment at that time consisted of rest, so it wasn’t until 1944, a year later, that he was able to begin work.

His first job was at the delightfully named Wellhouse Hospital in Barnet, where he met his wife, Jean Voase Lang, also a doctor. They married in 1947, the year that Tony obtained his membership of the Royal College of Physicians. Unfortunately, the TB persisted, and in 1949 Tony underwent a four-stage thoracotomy. This proved to be successful and he remained generally healthy until his final series of strokes almost 70 years later. With this background it is not surprising that Tony decided to pursue a career in chest diseases.

From 1948 to 1952 he worked as a senior medical registrar at the London Chest Hospital, before being appointed as a consultant chest physician and deputy superintendent to the big TB sanatorium at Pinewood Hospital in Crowthorne Berkshire, later becoming superintendent physician there in 1961.

In 1958 Tony was awarded a World Health Organization fellowship to visit hospitals in Scandinavia to study the treatment of tuberculosis and other diseases of the chest. As a result of his visit, he recommended the wider use of the BCG vaccination to counter tuberculosis and the use of respirators for the treatment of patients with emphysema and for patients with post-operative respiratory insufficiency. He had a number of articles published in medical journals; he was interested in all things new and innovative, such as the use of hyperbaric oxygen in infective gangrene or in the treatment of coronary thrombosis. He delighted in new ideas, reflected in later years in his enthusiastic use of computers.

During the 1950s and early 1960s tuberculosis stopped being so pervasive and it became clear that Pinewood would have to close. Tony had to find another post and so, in 1963, he was appointed as a consultant chest physician to Harefield Hospital. In 1966 he was appointed to Hillingdon Hospital, and two years later to Mount Vernon. He remained in these posts until his retirement in 1985.

In 1970 he was made a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and was thereafter a keen participant in its affairs. He proposed a number of colleagues to become fellows, and took great delight in extending the virtues of the ‘new’ RCP building. He enjoyed teaching and encouraging junior staff, maintaining an interest in their careers and well-being long after they had left his service. He was described as being from the ‘old school’ – very professional and always available for advice and guidance. He became a clinical tutor for the Harefield and Mount Vernon hospitals, and helped set up and run the new postgraduate centre in the grounds of Mount Vernon Hospital.

After retirement from the NHS, Tony continued to have private patients for a number of years. His life was filled with his house and garden, as well as travels to China, New Zealand and his beloved Madeira. He loved sailing, swimming (a throwback from his recovery from tuberculosis) and generally mucking about in boats, while delighting in his ever expanding family. He began to research his ancestors, using his new computer skills to trace relatives in Australia and Canada.

Jean died in 2010. In January 2012 Tony suffered his first major stroke, which was followed by another and then a number of minor ones. He died peacefully in January 2015 and was survived by his three children (Gay, Andrew and Jenny), four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

Janet Squire

[BMJ 2015 351 3917 – accessed 13 December 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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