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Biographical entry Walters, Frederick Rufenacht (1857 - 1946)

MRCS 20 April 1880; FRCS 14 December 1882; MB London 1881; BS 1882; MD 1883; LRCP 1880; MRCP 1888; LSA 1880.

13 August 1857
2 February 1946


Born on 13 August 1857 at 4 Stockwell Park Road, Brixton, the only child of Frederick Walters and his wife, née Rufenacht. His father and grandfather were silk-weavers, members of the Weavers Company and freemen of the City of London. His father in 1870 bought a surgical instrument business, in which Walters worked for a time. He was educated at Dr Roberts' School, Croydon, and at St Thomas's Hospital, took honours at the London MB, 1881, and was awarded the gold medal and University scholarship at the BS examination, 1882. Although he took the Fellowship at the end of this year, Walters was at heart a physician and he proceeded to the MD, 1883, and the MRCP, 1888. After serving house appointments at St Thomas's, he became surgeon to Westminster General Dispensary, and lecturer in physiology at the Zenana and Medical Mission Training School, Westminster; he also lectured in physiology at Exeter Hall. Later he was physician to the City Dispensary and to the London Provident Association.

In 1896 he was appointed physician to the North London Hospital for Consumptives at Mount Vernon, and from then his life was devoted to the institutional treatment of phthisis. At that time the gospel of open-air country treatment was being preached by those who had benefited from the care of Otto Walther at Nordrach in the Black Forest, and many sanatoria were established in England. Walters set up the Crooksbury Sanatorium near Farnham in Surrey, and ran it most successfully for many years with hardly any help. He was his own manager, physician, dietitian, almoner, and recorder. He made time, however, to publicize his observations and opinions, and to follow and discuss the work of others. His Sanatoria for consumptives, 1899, described the work at all important centres. His Open-air or sanatorium treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, 1909, advocated the division of sanatoria into two departments, one for complete rest-treatment, the other for ambulatory occupational therapy. He attended the International Tuberculosis Congress at Rome in 1912, and read a paper on the classification of cases. While at Crooksbury he acted as joint County tuberculosis officer for Surrey. Walters was a most painstaking pioneer, who did excellent personal work in a field that was afterwards more elaborately developed. The good reputation of Crooksbury won him the trust of many distinguished patients. Walters married, on his thirty-third birthday in 1890, Miss Sykes, who died in March 1945. After retirement he lived at Pinecroft, The Sands, Farnham, where he died on 2 February 1946, aged 88, survived by his three daughters.

Sanatoria for consumptives. London, 1899; 4th edition, 1913.
The home doctor. London, 1902.
Open-air or sanatorium treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. London, 1909. Classification of cases. Int Congr Tuberc 7, Rome, 1912.
Domiciliary treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. London, 1921; 2nd edition, 1924.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1946, 1, 330; information from his daughter, Miss M E Walters].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England