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Judith Mary Hockaday

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 15 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6512
  1. Derek Hockaday

Judith Mary Hockaday (née Fitzsimons) was both of Irish stock and from a strongly medical family: her father was a consultant surgeon and her mother an industrial medical officer, while her maternal grandfather was a general practitioner in Cardiff. She did her preclinical training at Girton College, Cambridge, in 1947-50 and her clinical training at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington (1950-53), where she was a house physician, senior house officer, and medical registrar. She then did an HP job at the Brompton Hospital, with the intention of a career in chest diseases, having already gained her membership of the Royal College of Physicians two years after qualifying. So in searching for the subject of a doctoral thesis, and probably via the “old girl” network and owing to the prevalence of chest tuberculosis, she was appointed registrar to Honour Smith at the tuberculous meningitis unit in Oxford in December 1957, without fully realising that this was a disease in rapid decline. Her MD thesis, on the results of treatment of tuberculous meningitis, was accepted in 1960, and was the basis of two papers in Tubercle. That year she married a member of George Pickering’s department at the Radcliffe Infirmary and therefore stayed in Oxford. Backed by all she’d learnt on the meningitis unit, was appointed registrar to Ritchie Russell and Charles Whitty in the department …

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