Lives of the fellows

James Thomas Scott

b.10 November 1926 d.28 August 2015
MB BS Lond(1949) MRCS LRCP(1949) MRCP(1952) MD(1967) FRCP(1968)

James Thomas Scott (known as ‘Tom’) was a consultant physician at Charing Cross and West London hospitals. He was born in Mill Hill, London, the only child of James Basil Spence Scott, a civil servant with the Post Office, and Alice Scott née Fawsitt Taylor, the daughter of a paper merchant. His father died when he was 11. He attended University College School, Hampstead, where he excelled academically, being particularly gifted at classics. He decided on a career in medicine and trained at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. He qualified in 1949.

He held a house post at St Mary’s and was then a house surgeon in Lincoln. In 1950 he became a junior registrar at Harefield Hospital. He gained his MRCP in 1952 and then carried out his National Service as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He served in Egypt, the Canal Zone, and was a consultant physician for the East Africa Command based in Kenya.

In 1954 he returned to St Mary’s Hospital as a medical registrar. From 1956 to 1958 he was a fellow in medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. He returned to the UK as a medical registrar and senior registrar at Hammersmith Hospital and then joined the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital at Taplow, where he worked under Eric Bywaters [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.86].

In 1962 he became a lecturer at the Postgraduate Medical School and an honorary consultant physician at Hammersmith Hospital, working with Barbara Ansell [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.23] and Allan St John Dixon [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web]. With his colleagues, he carried out research which established the occlusive nature of arteries in patients who have neuropathies often associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

In 1966 he was appointed as a consultant physician to Charing Cross Hospital and the West London Hospital, where he was head of the clinical research division and deputy head of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. He continued with his research, outlining the importance of renal clearance of uric acid as a factor in hyperuricaemia and conducting clinical trials on the effectiveness of allopurinol. He also worked on the use of arthroscopy for the diagnosis of synovitis and crystal deposition.

He authored 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals and edited the fifth and sixth editions of Copeman’s textbook of the rheumatic diseases (Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1978; Churchill Livingstone, 1986). He was editor of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, the official journal of the Heberden Society, from 1971 to 1983.

He was president of the Heberden Society, of the rheumatology section of the Royal Society of Medicine and the West London Medico-Chirurgical Society. He was honorary secretary and vice president of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council. He also worked for the formation of the British Society for Rheumatology in 1984 – the result of a merger between the Heberden Society and the British Association for Rheumatology and Rehabilitation.

He was a visiting professor at the Mayo Clinic and in Nova Scotia. In 1979 he was awarded the Jan van Breeman medal in the Netherlands. He was an honorary member of rheumatology associations in America and Australasia.

In 1991 he retired from the NHS and moved to Somerset. Outside medicine, he enjoyed entertaining friends and family. He was also interested in gardening, fishing and music, particularly singing, and sang in choirs from childhood, latterly in a choir in the parish of Huish Champflower and in the Wellington Choral Society. He maintained his interest in the classics, often reading Greek and Latin prose.

He was survived by his widow Faith (née Smith), whom he married in 1956, and their three sons, Humphrey (a surgeon), Matthew and Richard, and one grandson.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2015 351 5835 – accessed 16 October 2017]

(Volume XII, page web)

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