b.23 July 1907 d.1 August 1964
OBE(1946) MB ChB Liverp(1930) MD Liverp(1933) MRCS LRCP(1930) MRCP(1950) FRCP(1958) FC Path(1964)
Douglas Collins, who by his careful research was to become an expert on the pathology of bone and joint disease, was born in Ulverston, where his father, Arthur Ward Collins, was a general practitioner. His mother was Florence, daughter of John Crossley, of Arnside. From Rossall School he entered Liverpool University, and held house posts at the Royal Southern Hospital in 1930 and 1931, when he was awarded the Holt fellowship in pathology of which his father had been the first holder in 1888. He then joined the department of Professor J. H. Dible and from 1932 to 1934 was junior lecturer. In 1934 he became the first rheumatism research fellow in the University of Leeds, working partly under Professor M. J. Stewart and partly at the Royal Bath Hospital, Harrogate. For a few months in 1936 he worked with Walter Bauer in Boston, U.S.A.
In 1939 he joined the Emergency Medical Service and established a base hospital laboratory at Scotton Banks Sanatorium, and in 1940 became pathologist to the Wharncliffe E.M.S. Hospital in Sheffield where from 1942 to 1946 he was also medical superintendent. For these services he was awarded the O.B.E. He then returned to Leeds as reader in clinical pathology and, as deputy to M. J. Stewart and later to R. A. Welles, controlled the laboratory service in morbid anatomy and haematology at the Leeds General Infirmary. In 1954 he was appointed to the Joseph Hunter chair in pathology in Sheffield University, a post which carried with it the duties of consultant pathologist to the Royal Infirmary and the Radiotherapy Centre. Five years later he became joint public orator.
By now he had become well-known for his discoveries in rheumatism research, especially in osteoarthritis where he showed that the first change was in the deeper layer of cartilage or bone. He was external examiner to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Makerere Universities, a founder fellow of the College of Pathologists, an honorary member of the American Rheumatology Association, and chairman of the testicular panel of the Pathological Society and the British Empire Cancer Campaign, whose group report on the pathology of testicular tumours he edited with R. C. B. Pugh (1964).
For many years he was assistant editor of the Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology, one of the many journals in which his writings are to be found. The style of his Pathology of articular and spinal diseases (1949) was characteristic of the man.
Tall and distinguished in appearance, he was a popular teacher and an excellent administrator with an ability to bring out in committee the best in people of the most diverse temperaments, by his great charm and his delightful sense of humour. His hobbies were music, in which he showed great talent as a viola player, and gardening.
In 1934 he married Jean, the daughter of Charles Wright, of Liverpool. They had two children: Charles, a graduate in medicine of Sheffield and Cambridge, and Catherine, a graduate in history of Sussex University.
Richard R Trail
[Ann. rheum. Dis., 1964, 23, 520-10; Brit.med.J., 1964, 2, 391, 450-51 (p), 578; J.Path.Bact., 1965, 90, 691-701 (p), bibl; Lancet, 1964, 2, 368-9 (p); Times, 7, 8 Aug. 1964.]
(Volume V, page 79)
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