Howard Nicholson obituary

Howard Nicholson

Howard Nicholson’s excellent-grandfather was Joseph Skipsey ‘the Pitman Poet’, and Howard was also a guy of culture, with a love of literature and opera

My colleague and good friend Howard Nicholson, who has died aged 102, was a chest doctor, an inspirational diagnostician and a instructor.

Soon after the second world war, as a consultant at two London hospitals – University University (UCH) and the Brompton – Howard began to run patient therapy meetings on what we would now phone multidisciplinary lines. Treatment selections have been produced jointly by doctors, surgeons and radiologists, with physiotherapists and social workers also contributing. Joint care preparing is now taken for granted, but it was pioneering at the time and Howard was instrumental in obtaining it off the ground.

Despite getting a chest specialist he had also studied radiology, which gave him a wider viewpoint than some of his peers. This permitted him to see the worth of bringing in opinions from as numerous disciplines as feasible.

Born in Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, Howard was brought up by his mother, Sarah Harrison, a teacher, and his grandmother after his father, Frederick Nicholson, a mining engineer, was killed in the initial globe war. Howard came to London to examine medication at UCH in the early 1930s, qualifying in 1935, and, although working at King Edward VII Sanatorium in Midhurst, West Sussex, he met Winsome Piercy. They married in 1941, shortly before he was sent to the Middle East with the Royal Army Medical Corps thoracic surgical unit, the place he worked with the Scottish cardiothoracic surgeon Andrew Logan.

Howard often spoke of his time in Egypt with Logan, which widened his horizons and information significantly, and some of their experiences have been recorded in two fascinating papers that the pair published in the Thorax journal (1948-49). Howard subsequently co-authored two of the 1st papers evaluating antibiotic therapy for tuberculosis in the Lancet (1955-1960).

His expertise and insights had been appreciated by a lot of, not least Margaret Turner-Warwick, who educated beneath him at UCH and who was later on the initial woman to turn into president of the Royal School of Doctors. In her guide Residing Medicine she wrote of his “logical and analytical strategy” but also of his kindness and his ability at dealing with “hard colleagues, troubled sufferers and truculent students”. In the early 1970s I was a single of people fortunate sufficient to study with him.

Howard’s fantastic-grandfather was Joseph Skipsey, “the Pitman Poet”, and Howard too was a man of culture. He had a fantastic enjoy and understanding of English literature and of opera, settling on retirement with Winsome close to Glyndebourne. Throughout his last years, when he was far more confined to his cottage in Sussex, his Christmas treat was to re-go through the Jane Austen canon, commencing on Boxing Day.

Winsome predeceased him.

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