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Biographical entry Just, Theodore Hartman (1886 - 1937)

MRCS 10 November 1910; FRCS 12 June 1919; MB BCh Cambridge 1912; LRCP 1910.

23 April 1886
13 February 1937
ENT surgeon


Born at Bristol, 23 April 1886, the only son of Sir Hartman Just, KCMG, CB, legal adviser to the Colonial Office, and Katherine Frances Rootham, his wife. He was educated at St Paul's School, when F W Walker was high master, from 1898 until 1904, where he was successively capitation scholar and foundationer, Smee prizeman for original work in science, and John Watson prizeman for drawing and painting. He obtained third-class honours in zoology at London University whilst he was still at school. He matriculated at Cambridge from Trinity College as an exhibitioner in 1904, and in 1908 graduated after being placed in the first class in the Natural Sciences Tripos. He entered St Bartholomew's Hospital in October 1908 and in due course was appointed house surgeon to Sir Anthony Bowlby for the year 1911-12.

He was appointed house surgeon to the throat and ear department of the Hospital in the autumn of 1912, when it was in the charge of W D Harmer, and was at the same time a demonstrator in the pathological department, where he devoted himself more especially to the bacteriology of diseases of the ear and throat. He acted as chief assistant in the throat and ear department until 16 August 1915, when he received a commission as temporary captain, RAMC, and was attached to No 12 General Hospital at Rouen, where he was ordered to organize an ear, throat, and nose department. At Christmas 1917 he was sent to St Pol as a member of No 33 casualty clearing station with the rank of major, RAMC, and remained with the British Force until he was demobilized in March 1919 after four and a half years' continuous service. He was mentioned in despatches for conspicuous devotion to duty. In 1921 he was elected assistant aural surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital, to fill the vacancy caused by the unexpected resignation of C E West. Five years later the title was changed to that of aural surgeon in charge of out-patients, and this post he held until his death. Amongst other positions he was surgeon to the Golden Square Throat, Nose, and Ear Hospital until 1933, and assistant aural surgeon to the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Queen Square until 1936.

Just had a remarkable athletic record. At school he played in the second rugby XV for three years and was captain in 1904. He rowed in the school first Four for three years, and won the Shepherd cup for the best all-round athlete in 1904 and again in 1905. In the inter-university sports he won for Cambridge the half-mile in 1907, was first string for the half-mile and second string for the mile in 1908, and first string for the half-mile in 1909; his best time for the half-mile being in 1908 when he won in 1 min 55 4/5 secs. He was amateur champion half-mile for the United Kingdom in 1908, and was president of the Cambridge University Athletic Club in 1908-09. At the fourth Olympiad, held in London in 1908, he took part in the 800 metres flat race, won the sixth heat by 50 yards, and was fifth in the final when the time was 1 min 53 1/4 secs; he lost the third heat in the relay race. During his Cambridge career he succeeded in sprinting round the Great Court at Trinity in 55 seconds, whilst the clock struck midnight. He was for some years an Alpine climber, and in later life played golf.

He married Alice Marie, daughter of H B MacTaggart of Kintyre, Argyllshire, on 19 April 1922. She survived him but without children. He died on 13 February 1937 of pancreatitis, after an illness of some months' duration, and was buried at Highgate cemetery. Just was a good aural surgeon, a very fine athlete, and a great gentleman. From his school days to the end of his life he was always spoken of as "father", and his friends were innumerable. He was initiated in the Rahere lodge of freemasons in 1919 and was its worshipful master in 1930.

A survey of the results obtained during six months of enteric bacteriology at a general hospital. J Roy Army med Cps 1916, 26, 50-63.
Ligature of the external or common carotid vessels in serious tonsillar haemorrhage. Brit med J 1921, 2, 441.
Treatment of collapse following serious loss of blood in operations on the tonsil. Ibid p 442.
Cystic serous meningitis of the posterior fossa of otitic origin. St Bart's Hosp Rep 1928, 61, 89-94.
Notes on the diagnosis of acoustic tumours. Proc Roy Soc Med 1929-30, 23, 722-726.
Operations on the oesophagus, with direct laryngoscopy, pharyngoscopy, bronchoscopy, in Grey Turner's Modern Operative Surgery, 2nd edition, 1934, 2, 341-355.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 16 February 1937, p 21b and 18 February, p l7e; Lancet, 1937, 1, 485, with portrait, not a good likeness; Brit med J 1937, 1, 421; St Bart's Hosp Rep 1937, 70, 9, with portrait and bibliography; St Bart's Hosp J 1937, 44, 99-101; J Laryng 1937, 52, 292; information given by Mrs Just; personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England