Dr Thomas Boulton OBE
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Posted 18 July 2016 - 12:39 AM
"Dr Thomas Boulton, who has died aged 90, was a noted anaesthetist who contributed to the modernising of his specialty at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, edited the journal Anaesthesia and was involved in the formation of what became the Royal College of Anaesthetists.
He had a special interest in medical practice in the developing world, and became known as “difficult conditions Boulton” for his work on administering anaesthesia in the field.
One of two children, Thomas Babington Boulton was born at Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, on November 6 1925. His father George worked as a clerk in a bank for a time, but medicine was in the family: Tom’s grandfather and three of his great-grandfathers had been doctors. He spent most of his childhood and adolescence in the North, attending Scarborough College and then St Peter’s, York. When his parents separated, he became the man of the house.
His mother Mary (née Warboys) encouraged him to go into medicine because, having a medical father, she thought “that the medical profession was the greatest thing in the world”. When he went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, to read Medicine his mother and sister, Rosetta, who became a nurse at Barts Hospital, moved down to live nearby.
Boulton did his clinical training at Barts, where he met and later married the love of his life, a nurse called Helen Brown. Qualifying in 1945, he began work as a house surgeon and anaesthetist; a fellow anaesthetist was Gordon Ostlere, the medical novelist Richard Gordon.
For his National Service Boulton served in the RAMC in North Malaya from 1950 to 1952 during the Emergency: as he recalled, he was “the only anaesthetist with any sort of training… between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur”. The experience sparked an interest in anaesthesia in testing conditions, and he went on to join the Territorial Army, rising to the rank of major."
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