Obituaries

John Norman AgateHenry Dundas CockburnEdgar Colin Colin-JonesWilfrid Henry Russell CookKenneth HazellFrank Marr MilneJames Joseph MurrayJohn Richard RoseDerek Seymour-JonesJohn Emerson (“Jack”) SimpsonAlice Eleanora TownsleyCatrin Williams

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7180.401 (Published 06 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:401

John Norman Agate

  1. Bryan Moore-Smith

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    Pioneer in British geriatric medicine (b 1919; q Cambridge/London 1942; MD, FRCP; CBE), d 31 October 1998. John decided to enter the fledgling specialty of geriatric medicine in 1953 after four years with the Medical Research Council's industrial unit and a short service commission with the Royal Air Force. He began as a consultant in Bradford, serving 730 beds, then in 1958 he moved to Ipswich with 520. In Ipswich and east Suffolk he was a driving force in the move from essentially long stay services to the acute medicine of older people supported by effective rehabilitation enabling them to return home safely. To this end he planned, obtained funding for, and opened 50 acute beds in 1967 followed by 50 rehabilitation beds 10 years later, having already in the early and mid-1960s overseen the major refurbishment of four peripheral longer stay hospitals. As a clinician he put history taking and physical examination far ahead of laboratory results, as many junior colleagues learnt to their cost. Plagued by back pain, John conducted ward rounds sitting on a shooting stick and kneeling to examine. He set high standards, fought vigorously for his beliefs, and, though possessed of a “short fuse,” he was essentially a kind man. In 1963 he published The Practice of Geriatrics, which became the definitive textbook of the time. An influential office holder of the British Geriatric Society, John also sat on several national committees, and his services to geriatric medicine were marked by award of the CBE in 1978. Outside medicine his interests included music, photography, pottery, writing, and cars. He leaves a wife, Hester; a son and a daughter; and a grandson.

    Henry Dundas Cockburn

    1. Alasdair Fraser

      Former medical superintendent St Mary's Hospital, London (b Ealing 1913; q St Mary's 1939; MC), d 4 December 1998. He joined the Royal …

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