Professor Andrew Lees, professor of neurology at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery will be delivering the FitzPatrick lecture as part of College Day.
Professor Lees' first two chiefs were inspirational, understanding, helpful and kind but both warned him that it would take many years to become proficient at knowing where to look and to acquire the specialist knowledge needed to heal the neurologically sick. They told him that he would learn from patients on the wards and that he should use textbooks only as occasional sources of reference. One of them however was adamant that he should read the Sherlock Holmes canon. In time Andrew came to understand criminal detectives and neurologists both seek hidden truths and meanings in narrative and depend in their work on a rigorous tried and tested method that demands scrupulosity. Sherlock Holmes provided the romantic bridge to William Gowers and the serious business of neurology.
The lecture was founded by a gift from Mrs Agnes Letitia FitzPatrick in 1901, in memory of her husband Dr Thomas FitzPatrick who passed away in 1900. The FitzPatrick lecture delivered annually on the subject of “The history of medicine” and the first lecture was held in 1903.
Dr Thomas FitzPatrick was born in Virginia, a small Irish country town and graduated at Trinity College in Dublin. He was a noted linguist who joined the East India Company as an assistant surgeon, served in Bengal and returned to London after an illness, where he practiced in Sussex Gardens. He wrote about the social and sanitary conditions of the labouring classes in Ireland.
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