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Biographical entry Rushton, Martin Amsler (1903 - 1970)

CBE 1960; MRCS and FRCS 1964; FDSRCS 1948; MD Cambridge 1946; MB BCh 1932; FDSRCS Ed 1951; FFDRCSI 1946; LLD Belfast 1965; LLD Toronto 1959; Hon FDSRCPS Glasgow 1967; DSc Wales 1969.

29 March 1903
16 November 1970
Dental surgeon


Martin Rushton was born on 29 March 1903, the son of W Rushton, one of the leading dentists of his day; he was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Caius College, Cambridge, and Guy's Hospital Medical and Dental School.

After qualifying in medicine and dentistry in 1932 he practised in Harley Street and taught part-time at Guy's Dental School until the outbreak of the second world war, when he became chief dental surgeon to the Plastic and Jaw Unit in the Emergency Medical Service at Basingstoke. At that time he was also on the consultant staff of both Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals which was a rare achievement.

In 1946 he was appointed to the newly created chair of Dental Medicine in the University of London tenable at Guy's Hospital. This was the first chair of its kind and Professor Rushton occupied it with distinction until his retirement in 1966 through ill health.

Rushton's contributions to the advancement of dentistry and dental education since the war were numerous and varied; he was a founder member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons from 1948-64 and from 1959-62 served as its Dean. He was a University of London representative on the General Dental Council and secretary, later chairman, of the Dental Committee of the Medical Research Council. In 1964 he was elected President of the International Association for Dental Research. Among his many honours bestowed on him were the CBE in 1960, the honorary LLD of Toronto University and Queen's University Belfast and the DSc of the University of Wales.

In the field of oral pathology and oral medicine Rushton's contributions were considerable and his postgraduate teaching were greatly appreciated by many dental surgeons, both in this country and abroad, so that his department at Guy's Hospital enjoyed an international reputation. In 1963-64 he was President of the Odontological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, an office previously held by his father.

Despite his success and influence Rushton remained a man who enjoyed the simple things of life, his garden, art and literature; as an after-dinner speaker he was a master and he never had to resort to cheap humour to hold the attention of his audiences. In 1949 he married Dorothy Whiteside and in his years of failing strength her help was a great source of comfort to him.

He died in Guy's Hospital after a long illness on 16 November 1970 at the age of 67, and was survived by his wife and daughter.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1970, 4, 563; Lancet 1970, 2, 1143].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England