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James Innes

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 24 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1548
  1. J Alastair Innes

    James Innes, who spent most of his medical career in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, was an outstanding physician and haematologist but above all was a gifted clinical teacher who inspired generations of undergraduate and postgraduate students. It was no accident that the university was more than happy to allow him to continue teaching at the bedside and in the pathology department until he was an octogenarian. He was at ease with patients from all walks of life, readily engaging them in conversation while using his uncanny ability to extract hitherto undiscovered aspects of their histories and to notice subtle clinical signs missed by his colleagues and, as a result, the correct diagnosis was invariably reached.

    James was brought up at Haslar Naval Hospital in Gosport where his father was a pharmacist. He attended school in Portsmouth, hence his affectionate sobriquet of “Pompey.” The family moved to Edinburgh in 1930, and, although the young Innes had precociously obtained the requisite exam results to study medicine, he had to spend a year at the Royal High School …

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