Lives of the fellows

John Paget Harry Davies

b.25 January 1928 d.1 June 2015
MRCS LRCP(1951) MB BS Lond(1951) MRCP(1956) MD(1961) FRCP(1974)

Paget Davies was a consultant general physician with an interest in cardiology at the Redhill and Netherne group of hospitals in Surrey. He was born in Llandrindod Wells, Wales, the son of John Arthur Davies, a parks superintendent, and Lilian Sarah Jane Davies née Brick. His family moved to Lewes, Sussex when he was three, and he was educated at Lewes County Grammar School for Boys and then King’s College Hospital Medical School in London. Awarded the Sir Charles Briscoe Prize for research into G6PD deficiency, he obtained his MD in 1961.

He served in the RAF in north Germany and held junior positions there and at King’s, Central Middlesex and Brompton hospitals. He was a registrar and then a senior registrar at King’s College Hospital from 1956 to 1966, before being appointed as a consultant physician at the then Redhill General Hospital (it later became the new East Surrey Hospital). He also had clinics at Caterham and Netherne hospitals, and privately at Gatwick Park Hospital.

While at King’s College Hospital, he helped Samuel Oram [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.398], his consultant and the director of the cardiac department, with work on his textbook Clinical heart disease (London, Heinemann Medical, 1971), and so began a lifelong dedication to cardiology.

At Redhill General Hospital he particularly enjoyed teaching and took a keen interest in the careers of his junior doctors, keeping in touch long after they had moved on. He organised the cardiac resuscitation programme with a dedicated cardiac ambulance, and a management programme for acute poisoning. He was a member of the British Cardiac Society and gained his FRCP in 1974. In 1981 he travelled to Harvard and Stanford universities in the USA.

When he retired, he was able to spend more time at Reigate Heath Golf Club, working in his garden and continuing to act as president of the local branch of the British Heart Foundation. He organised many fundraising events, including the annual Great Surrey Cycle Ride. He served on a medical appeals tribunal from 1989 to 1998, and continued with his private practice in Redhill and at Gatwick Park Hospital for some years until 1997.

A colleague at Gatwick Park Hospital wrote: ‘Although Paget was a cardiologist and endocrinologist, he was very much the complete physician, now rather sadly a dying breed! It was well known throughout the district that if there was a difficult medical problem Paget would sort it out. If there was an obscure focus to a problem, he would find it.’

He supported several charities, including the Friends of the East Surrey Hospital, the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and Lewes Society of Friends (he was from a Quaker family). He was also a keen member of the local Probus Club.

He was devoted to his wife of 59 years, Eleanor (née Lax), whom he met while she was the sister on the children’s ward at King’s and he was a registrar. Incidentally, she provided him with his MD thesis topic when she proved to have favism, a rare inherited disorder. She gave him lifelong support and loyalty. When she died on 25 May 2015, the day before their wedding anniversary, he was unable to continue alone and followed her only one week later. They were inseparable in life and death.

His terminal heart disease was protracted; ironically he suffered from the very illness he had specialised in when practising and his expertise did much to prolong his life. He died in East Surrey Hospital, the hospital to which he had given so many years of service.

He was survived by a daughter, Ruth, a son, Haydn, a granddaughter, Catherine (who is also a doctor) and a grandson, Robert (a veterinary surgeon).

Ruth Ayers

(Volume XII, page web)

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