- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Sir John Parkinson

Born  1885
Died  1976

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English cardiologist, born February 10, 1885 Thornton-le-Fylde; died 1976.

Biography of Sir John Parkinson

John Parkinson attended University College, London, and subsequently trained in medicine at the University of Freiburg and the London Hospital. He qualified 1907 and obtained a doctorate in 1910. In the early part of his career Parkinson was an assistant to Sir James Mackenzie's (1853-1925) assistant in the department of cardiology at the London Hospital. During World War I he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps, and by 1917 he had achieved the rank of major, and he commanded a military heart centre in Rouen. After the war Parkinson returned to the London Hospital, where he became in charge of the cardiac department. Here he was eventually appointed to the consulting staff, a and he was also appointed to the consulting staff of the National Heart hospital, London. From 1931 to 1956 he was a civilian cardiologist to the Royal Air Force.

In 1948 Parkinson was knighted by King George. The first European Congress of Cardiology was held in London in September 1952 under the Presidency of Sir John Parkinson.

Said by Parkinson's biographers:

"By nature, Parkinson was a shy man. He enjoyed the company of close friends, when he was a generous host, but unless obligatory, he preferred not to dwell long in the company of strangers, other than those with a common interest, and especially the young seeking his advice; to them he would devote unlimited time and help. Those whom he had befriended and trained carried a passport to the world's foremost cardiological centres."

"Intolerant of pomposity, he was wholly unspoiled by the many honours bestowed on him, and though he had under his care many of the world's greatest men he had just as much time for the poor and needy, and his invariable kindness and cheerfulness at the bedside brought great comfort to countless sick folk."


Obituary in:
  • Lancet, 1976, 1: 1359.
  • British Medical Journal, 1976, 1: 1536.
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