Lives of the fellows

Carey Franklin Coombs

b.1879 d.9 December 1932
MD Lond FRCP(1917)

Carey Coombs’ father, Carey Pearce Coombs, was a doctor in practice at Frome who took a keen interest in the therapeutic applications of electricity. He himself was born at Castle Cary and went to Keyford School, Frome, and University College, Bristol, for his education. In 1897 he entered St. Mary’s Hospital to train as a medical student. Four years afterwards he graduated, with prizes in medicine, surgery and pathology and the Cheadle gold medal for medicine. He also played rugby football for the Hospital. He remained at St. Mary’s on the resident staff until 1904, when he returned to Bristol to practise. There he was first attached to the Children’s Hospital, becoming registrar and assistant physician. In 1907, however, after being appointed a demonstrator of pathology at University College, he joined the staff of the General Hospital, where he had been curator of the museum, as assistant physician. During the 1914-1918 War he served in Mesopotamia and France as a major in the R.A.M.C. After his return, he was appointed, in 1920, physician in charge of outpatients at the General Hospital and, in 1927, full physician. In 1927, too, he was chosen as director of the newly-established University centre of cardiac research. His interest in rheumatic children suffering from heart disease led him to support the founding of the Orthopaedic Hospital at Winford.

Coombs was an associate editor of the Medical Annual for some years and in 1924 published Rheumatic Heart Disease, a subject on which he was a recognised authority throughout the world. He was Long Fox lecturer at Bristol University in 1925, Chadwick lecturer in 1927, and Lumleian Lecturer at the Royal College of Physicians in 1930. As a man, Coombs was simple yet wise, tireless yet cultured, humorous, religious, loving and lovable. He married in 1904 Nina May Matthews of Walton-by-Clevedon, and had four sons and one daughter.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1932; B.M.J., 1932]

(Volume IV, page 551)

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