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Christopher Patrick Silver

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 27 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f895
  1. Colin Reisner

Christopher Patrick Silver was educated at King’s School, Bruton and Hertford College, Oxford. He was a house officer in Sheffield, where it is reported that, when not tending patients, he was tending vegetables in the hospital garden. He then served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in North Africa and Italy, arriving there soon after the Anzio landings. His active service in Italy came to an end when he broke a leg in an accident caused by the blackout, but he gained the dramatic consolation of witnessing the great eruption of Vesuvius from his hospital bed. Once recovered he was sent to Bombay before being demobilised with the rank of temporary major in June 1946.

His first job afterwards was as a junior pathologist at the Radcliffe Infirmary. He then moved to medicine working at Edgware General Hospital, the London Chest Hospital, Mount Vernon Hospital, and Papworth Hospital. In 1952 he became assistant chest physician at the London Chest Hospital and wrote his doctorate on the use of tuberculin jelly in the diagnosis of tuberculosis. When it became apparent that respiratory medicine was oversubscribed for a career, Max Caplin, who had helped him with his doctorate, suggested he might look at geriatric medicine, and so, in 1961, he became consultant in this specialty at St Matthew’s Hospital in Shoreditch.

St Matthew’s hardly seemed to have moved on since the Victorian days when it was built. With ward names like Dickens, Elia, and Copperfield, the rows of …

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