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Biographical entry Hume, John Basil (1893 - 1974)

MRCS 1916; FRCS 1920; MB BS London 1920; MS 1925; LRCP 1916.

29 September 1893
2 March 1974
General surgeon


John Basil Hume was born in Whitby on 29 September 1893, and was educated at Bootham School, York. In 1911 he came to St Bartholomew's and qualified with the Conjoint Diploma in 1916. After a house appointment he joined the RAMC and served in East Africa for the rest of the first world war, gaining the rank of Major.

Returning to Bart's in 1919 he demonstrated anatomy, and in 1920 passed the London MB,BS with honours and a distinction in medicine, and in the same year obtained the FRCS. He had a distinguished student career at Bart's, winning the Brackenbury Scholarship, the Kirkes Gold Medal, and the Luther Holden Scholarship. He continued to teach in the anatomy department till 1923 when he became chief assistant to Sir Holburt Waring, a post which he held for three years, interrupted in 1924 by a visit to the United States where he worked for several months at Ann Arbor with Cabot and Coller, extending his experience of general surgery but also gaining special knowledge of urology.

Hume's first consultant appointment was to St Andrew's Hospital, Dollis Hill, in 1925 and in 1927 he was appointed surgeon to Finchley Memorial Hospital. He spent two years as curator of the museum and a further year as a lecturer in anatomy at Bart's. He also became an examiner in anatomy on the Court of the Royal College of Surgeons, and was appointed a Hunterian Professor, lecturing on the anatomy of the diaphragm with special reference to diaphragmatic hernia. In 1931 Waring retired and Hume was appointed assistant surgeon, becoming full surgeon in 1946 and continuing in this post till he retired in 1958. The outstanding feature of his clinical work was his interest in the patients as persons, a characteristic which impressed his students and the young surgeons whom he helped to train. After his retirement he continued to serve the Medical College as associate lecturer in anatomy till 1967.

In addition to his devoted service to patients and students at Bart's, Hume had an equally distinguished record of service to the University of London, where the kindly and conscientious way in which he performed his duties for seventeen years on the Senate, and for eleven as Chairman of the External Council was greatly appreciated. He was Deputy Vice-Chancellor for two years from 1964.

Basil Hume was married in 1925 to Marjorie Poole who supported him loyally in all his activities, and with their four daughters they had a very happy family life in their Hampstead home. He enjoyed fly fishing and foreign travel, making a special effort to learn the language of the countries they visited. He died, after a long illness which robbed him of the full enjoyment of his final years, on 2 March 1974 at the age of 80.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 5 March 1974; Lancet 1974, 1, 466; Brit med J 1974, 2, 61].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England