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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2008 January 5; 336(7634): 51.
PMCID: PMC2174770

Donald Drummond Webster

Donald Webster and I were allocated the same lodgings when we entered Newcastle Medical School in 1941, and he became a very close friend. When we each married in 1946, after graduation in 1945, he was my best man and I was his. Deemed unfit for military service because of a mild chronic facial lupus, Donald became an assistant medical officer in Cherry Knowle Hospital, Ryhope, County Durham, after a house appointment in Sunderland Royal Infirmary. He later became a registrar at St Luke’s Hospital, Middlesbrough, then senior registrar, and ultimately consultant psychiatrist from March 1959.

He was an able clinician, warmly regarded by his colleagues and consulted by many, and by some of the prominent citizenry of Teesside; he was also consultant adviser in psychiatry to ICI in Billingham until he retired in 1982. He was attached for a time to the university department of psychological medicine in Newcastle, and was an able teacher of students. He also built up an extensive private practice and frequently gave an expert opinion in medicolegal cases. He was captain of athletics in the medical school, although opportunities for competitive running in wartime were few. He was an active member of the BMA and participated in MRC clinical trials on drug treatment in depressive illness in the 1960s.

In 2006 he had a major cerebrovascular accident, leaving him hemiplegic, but after active rehabilitation he resumed his favourite pursuit of walking, only to fall and suffer a fractured neck of femur in August 2007 necessitating a hip replacement; after surgery his condition declined rapidly, and he died in hospital. He leaves a wife, Betty, also a doctor, and a daughter and a son.


Former consultant psychiatrist St Luke’s Hospital, Middlesbrough (b 1923; q Newcastle Medical School, University of Durham, 1945; FRCPsych), died from complications after hip replacement on 10 October 2007.

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