A person who profoundly affected my life: The eye doctor

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 26 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:g
  1. Dr Eric Hainsworth
  1. retired general medical practitioner now living in Cornwall

    Even before I became a teenager, I had set my heart on a future career to join the Royal Navy or to become a medical doctor. At the age of 12 in 1939 I was found to require spectacles. During the consultation the specialist, a Dr R W Greatorex, asked me if I had any plans for the future, and as a result of my reply he told me that, because of my eyes, I would not be accepted by the navy. He also informed me that his son was completing his medical training at St Thomas's Hospital in London. Following my preclinical training at Cambridge University, where there was then no local teaching hospital, I successfully applied to St Thomas's to complete my training. My choice of hospital had been decided by the conversation in 1939.

    On the wall in the hospital chapel there is a memorial plaque commemorating the death of Lieutenant Thomas William Greatorex who died in May 1941, aged 26, from wounds received on active service in the Middle East. He had qualified in 1940.

    I never met him.

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