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John Andrew Savin

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 30 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1176
  1. John Hunter

John Savin was a former consultant dermatologist to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and part-time senior lecturer to the Department of Dermatology, University of Edinburgh. A man of sharp intellect, his was a glittering career that showed promise from the start with scholarships at Epsom College, Trinity Hall, Cambridge (where he duly got a first), and St Thomas's Hospital. He sailed through his professional life with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of modesty.

John trained in London at St John's Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, St George's Hospital, and St Thomas's Hospital under Drs Calman, Meara, Gold, Dowling, and Wallace. He arrived in Edinburgh in 1971, encouraged by P J (Paddy) Hare, who had taken the chair of dermatology in Edinburgh in 1968. Both injected fresh blood into a department that, since its establishment in 1884, had been led by a succession of nine Edinburgh graduates. John was the consummate professional. He treated all patients—from Fife miners to peers of the realm—in the same way—that is, with courtesy, interest, and empathy. He was clinically very adept and had that enviable ability to recollect clinical signs that he had noted years previously and to relate them to the patient of the moment whose diagnosis was puzzling him or his colleagues. He was an extraordinarily astute observer, and Sir William Osler would have been proud of him—“See and then reason, …

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