- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Mary Clayton Holt

Born 1924-04-20
Died 1993-10-20

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English cardiologist, born April 20, 1924; Eltham, Kent; died October 20, 1993.

Biography of Mary Clayton Holt

Mary Clayton Holt was born in Eltham, Kent. Her father was a schoolmaster and her family originated from Manchester.

She was educated at King’s College Hospital, where she qualified in MB, BS, 1947. In 1948 she was awarded the Charles Murchison scholarship. In 1950 she obtained her doctorate. She then spent four years with the thoracic unit, Horton Emergency and St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where she was senior medical registrar; she joined the cardiac department at King’s as a clinical assistant.

At the age of 31 she was appointed consultant physician to the South London Hospital for Women and Children and became a research scholar in cardiology at King’s College Hospital. During this period she worked with her senior colleague, Samuel Oram, and delineated the condition which bears their names. In 1959 she was appointed additionally to the Royal Eye Hospital and Croydon Hospitals.

Mary played a full part in medical politics, chairing committees and serving as consultant member of Croydon Health Authority. Holt’s main professional interests were in the treatment and management of acute cardiac disease, medical administration and career guidance to women doctors. 

Mary Holt was early in appreciating the importance of cardiac rehabilitation and established a clinic specifically for this purpose. She was a meticulous physician who at times could appear rather formidable but who was in reality extremely kind and considerate.

She had many Interests outside medicine. Her hobbies were travel and gardening, and for many years she sang with the Croydon Philharmonic Society.

In later years Holt suffered increasingly from arthritis, and in the summer of 1993 she underwent operations to replace both knee joints. Recovery was slow and she took her own life. After retirement in 1990 she decided to move to Charmouth in Dorset, having had a holiday cottage in Lyme Regis for many years. In the summer of 1993 she underwent surgery to replace both knee joints and recovery from this was slow and difficult. By the autumn she was making good progress but, sadly, in October 1993 she took her own life.

Peter Beighton & Gretha Beighton:
The Person Behind the Syndrome. Springer-Verlag London Limited, 1997.

Internatt (J. S. Manners)

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