Sir Thomas Barlow
Biography of Sir Thomas Barlow
Sir Thomas Barlow was the son of a Lancashire cotton manufacturer. He had a successful undergraduate career at Manchester and London, and in 1868 joined University College, London, graduating M.B. in 1873 and M.D. 1874. He became a registrar at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, and a physician there 10 years later, and retired to the consulting staff in 1899. He was professor at the University College from 1895 to 1907, first of paediatrics, then of clinical medicine.
A painstaking and astute clinician, he distinguished tuberculosis from meningo-coccal meningitis. He described a variant of Chvostek sign to detect tetany and drew attention to the relationship of tendon nodules in rheumatic fever to progressive disease and cardiac involvement. His study of infantile scurvy proved that this disease was identical to adult scurvy, an outstanding contribution at the time of introduction of artificial feeding, which led to recognition of the disorder and reduced mortality. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1880, was elected president in 1910 and re-elected four times.
He was physician to Queen Victoria, whom he attended in her last illness; and to King Edward VIII and George V. He was created baronet in 1900 and FRS in 1909. He had the North Country attributes of bluntness and honesty, but had the knack of always saying the kind thing.