Obituaries

Paul Beeson

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7568.604 (Published 14 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:604

Professor of medicine at Oxford, Emory, Yale, and Washington, who discovered the pathology of fever in infections and advocated death with dignity

At the height of the brain drain, when Britain was haemorrhaging researchers to the United States, Paul Beeson left a chair of medicine at Yale to become Nuffield professor of medicine at Oxford. He reformed the curriculum, edited two textbooks and the Oxford Companion to Medicine, and laid the foundations for Oxford's pre-eminence in infectious diseases. He was awarded an honorary KBE.


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Credit: JAY GOSS PHOTOGRAPHY/AFAR

Beeson inspired generations of students with his concern for patients. He showed that hepatitis could be transmitted by blood transfusion, and brought new insights into the causes of high persistent fevers. He also discovered the cytokine interleukin-1. During the second world war he was one of the volunteer US doctors who staffed Harvard Hospital in Salisbury. He was professor of medicine at three US universities: Emory, Yale, and Washington.

Although he started as a conservative who intended to follow a career in private practice, he ended as …

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