- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Sir Robert Grieve Hutchison

Born  1871
Died  1960

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British radiologist, born October 28, 1871, Edinburgh; died 1960.

Biography of Sir Robert Grieve Hutchison

Robert Grieve Hutchison's father was a minister of religion, but there were numerous doctors in his family, including his grandfather. He studied in Edinburgh, Strasbourg, and Paris and received his doctorate in Edinburgh in 1893. He served his internship at the Royal Infirmary and the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. In 1900 he became assistant physician at London Hospital and at Children’s Hospital, London. His work mainly concerns paediatrics and gastro-intestinal diseases.

Hutchison trained in radiology at the Western Infirmary and the Holt Radium Institute, Manchester. He was radiologist at the Royal Alexandra Infirmary, Paisley, when he died following injuries in a motor car accident. He made a number of contributions to radiology literature including the use of radium in the treatment of carcinoma of the bladder and in the management of carcinoma of the breast.

    «Those of us who have the duty of training the raising generation of doctors . . . must not inseminate the virgin minds of the young with the tares of our own fads. It is for this reason that it is easily possible for teaching to be top «up to date.» It is always well, before handing the cup of knowledge to the young, to wait until the froth has settled.»
    British Medical Journal, 1925; 1: 995.

    «Don’t scrape your insides with much roughage as it is more likely to do harm than good. Vegetarianism is harmless enough though it is apt to fill a man with wind and self-righteousness.»
    Address, session of the British Medical Association, Winnipeg, 1930.

    «One swears by wholemeal bread, one by sour milk; vegetarianism is the only road to salvation of some, others insist not only on vegetables alone, but on eating those raw. At one time the only thing that matters is calories; at another time they are crazy about vitamins or about roughage.
    The scientific truth may be put quite briefly; eat moderately, having an ordinary mixed diet, and don’t worry.»
    Newcastle Medical Journal, Volume 12, 1932.

    «The amount of writings of a profession is a measure of its vitality and activity, whilst their quality is a rough indication of its intellectual state. Medical literature . . . is the currency or medium of exchange by which a man contributes to or borrows from the common stock of knowledge and experience, and the volume of this currency and the character of its metal are of the greatest importance to us all.» Lancet, 1939; 2: 1059.

    «From inability to let well alone; from too much zeal for the new and contempt for what is old; from putting knowledge before wisdom, science before art, and cleverness before common sense, from treating patients as cases, and from making the cure of the disease more grievous than the endurance of the same, Good Lord, deliver us.»
    British Medical Journal, 1953; 1: 671.

    «It is unnecessary - perhaps dangerous - in medicine to be too clever.»
    Lancet, 1938; 2: 61.

    «Health like happiness, is to be found, if at all, by the wayside, and the more you pursue it, the more it flees from you.»

    «If you once get into the habit of guessing you are diagnostically damned.»
    The Principles of Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment.


  • The chemistry of the thyroid gland and the nature of its active constituent.
    Journal of Physiology, London, 1896, 20: 474-496.
    Isolation of globulin afterwards named thyroglobulin.
  • Clinical methods. With H. Rainy. London, 1897.
  • Food and the principles of dietics.
    New York and London, 1901.
  • Lectures on diseases of children. London, 1904.
  • Applied physiology. London, 1908.
  • Lectures on dyspepsia. London, 1925.

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