Obituaries

ObituariesTerence KayCharles Frederick RycroftJohn Dunlop ThomsonBrian William TomsMichael Walton

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7152.213 (Published 18 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:213

Terence Kay


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Former consultant forensic psychiatrist Wakefield (b Cheadle 1930; q Leeds 1958; FRCPsych), died of a myocardial infarction on 8 May 1998. He spent his early life in Stockport, and after leaving school at 14 worked as a laboratory technician at Stockport Infirmary, then spending his national service as a technician in Hamburg and Berlin. His initial ambition was to be a general practitioner, and he practised for four years in New Zealand, where he developed an interest in psychiatry. To obtain specialist qualifications he returned to Britain, working in Plymouth and Leeds and developing an interest in forensic psychiatry. After working as a prison medical officer he joined High Royds Hospital, and thereafter was instrumental in forming the forensic psychiatry service in Wakefield. Teaching the staff remained a fundamental interest throughout his career, while from a desolate locked ward he developed an interim secure unit before establishing a purpose built regional secure unit. He also became well known in assessing the victims of major disasters. He leaves a wife, Liz; two sons (one a doctor); and six grandchildren.

[H Jordinson L Haskayne]

Charles Frederick Rycroft

Consultant psychoanalyst Tavistock Clinic 1956-68 (b 1914; q UCH 1945; Founder FRCPsych), d 24 May 1998. Born into what he described as the “lower upper classes,” (his father was a fox hunting impoverished baronet who died when Charles was 11), Charles Rycroft read history at Cambridge, where his intellectual gifts and left wing sympathies were soon apparent, After a year as a history research student he applied for analytic training but was considered by Ernest Jones to be a dilettante and was asked to qualify in medicine first. After qualification he worked briefly at the Maudsley Hospital before setting up in private practice as an analyst, continuing to see patients until a few days before his death. He rose quickly in the Psychoanalytical Society, becoming assistant editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and a training analyst, with R D Laing perhaps his best known analysand. Towards the end of the 1950s, however, he began to question the scientific credentials of psychoanalysis and began devoting his considerable literary talents to a wider audience. He reviewed prolifically for the Observer, New Society, New York Review of Books, and the New Statesman, while he produced several influential books, including A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis and The Innocence of Dreams. He enjoyed clubland but was fundamentally a private and shy man who valued solitude among his intense but well ordered friendships. It is likely that he will be seen as a prescient figure in the history of psychoanalysis, his role as an antiestablishment figure insider giving him a unique insight. His first marriage to Chloe was dissolved, but he leaves a second wife, Jenny, and a son and two daughters by his first marriage.

[Jeremy Holmes]

John Dunlop Thomson

Former consultant surgeon Ayrshire (b 1916; q Glasgow 1939; FRFPS, FRCSE), d 23 May 1998. After six years' service at home and overseas in the Royal Air Force he returned to Glasgow and completed his surgical training. At the Royal Infirmary in addition to his role as a busy general surgeon he developed an interest in thoracic surgery, and became one of a small group of consultants who saw both the demise of surgery in pulmonary tuberculosis and the emergence of cardiac surgery. At Ayrshire he found another challenge–paediatric surgery–and his success gave him great satisfaction. He was for many years an examiner for the royal colleges in Glasgow and Edinburgh and served for some time on the council of the latter. John had a great respect for the skills of people in all walks of life, and it was no surprise that he became actively involved in the farming scene and long remained a familiar figure buying and selling in the local cattle market. Although a keen sailor in his youth, he retained a life long interest in golf.

[R Bain John D Thomson]

Brian William Toms

General practitioner Sunderland 1991-8 (b 1950; q Newcastle 1973; DRCOG, FRCGP), died of carcinoma of the colon on 12 May 1998. After a traineeship in Durham City he worked as a general practitioner in West Rainton before seeking a new challenge in Silksworth, Sunderland. He was devoted to the NHS, and his quiet enthusiasm led to him becoming a trainer, course organiser, and organiser of the Northumbria training scheme. He delighted in playing devil's advocate, challenging trainees and colleagues to think carefully and critically about their assumptions, and as cofounder of the Sunderland trainer group and a member of the local medical committee he contributed considerably to the development of general practice in the city. He balanced his professional achievements with his love of sport–walking and scuba diving whenever possible–and his expertise in red wine. He leaves a wife, Elizabeth.

[Pam Wortley Bill Cunningham]

Michael Walton

Physician superintendent and consultant chest physician Poole Hospital, Middlesbrough, 1954-77 (b West Woodburn, Northumberland, 1915; q Durham 1937; MD, DPH), died of metastatic disease in the liver on 9 March 1998. After wartime service with Fighter Command in the Royal Air Force, despite his family's expectation that he would return as their local general practitioner, he became the clinical tuberculosis officer in Middlesbrough. He identified and then supervised the control of an outbreak of antibiotic resistant tuberculosis, thereafter becoming a consultant. He served on several medical committees, becoming chairman of the South Cleveland Consultants Group in 1974. He retired early to devote more time to his principal hobbies of farming and travelling. He leaves a wife, Meg; two sons (one a consultant anaesthetist); and two grandchildren (one a doctor).

[Richard Walton Michael Walton]

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