Obituary: Dr Arthur Kitchin, Distinguished Edinburgh cardiologist who had an abiding love of the Classics
Born: 27 May, 1924, in Edinburgh. Died: 15 May, 2012, in Edinburgh, aged 86.
Dr Arthur Kitchin, who spent the main part of his career as a distinguished cardiologist at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, has died within days of his 88th birthday.
Though long retired, he was still pursuing his research in areas like heart stents and balloon angioplasty, as well as his extensive range of cultural interests.
Kitchin was fortunate in his parentage. His father, Dr George Kitchin, was a well- remembered lecturer in English literature at Edinburgh University, while his mother, formerly Bessie Park, came from a distinguished family in the Buchan district of Aberdeenshire.
She had come to study in Edinburgh and later became headmistress of St James Episcopal School. But it was when attending a Workers’ Education Association course that she met her lecturer, Dr Kitchin.
They began married life in the splendour of Ramsay Gardens and that was where Arthur Kitchin spent the first five years of his life.
They then moved to a villa in Merchiston, from which he enrolled at George Watson’s College. Aged 15, he was there at the start of the war in 1939, when city children were being evacuated to rural areas. For Arthur and his sister Joanna, that meant the familiar surroundings of their maternal grandmother’s home in the historic Aberdeenshire parish of Deer, to which St Columba and St Drostan first brought Christianity to the north-east of Scotland.
After a year at Peterhead Academy, they returned to Edinburgh, with Arthur resuming his studies at George Watson’s. By 1942 he was not only Dux of the school but came first in the Bursary Competition for entry to Edinburgh University. On top of that, there was an award for his outstanding performance in the Classics.
Choosing medicine for a career, he graduated MB ChB at Edinburgh in 1947 then headed for London where he was a Research Fellow at St Thomas’s Hospital and a House Physician at both Brompton and Hammersmith Hospitals. At St Thomas’s he gained his PhD in physiology.
In that post-war period, there was National Service to contend with and he spent two years in the Royal Army Medical Corps. There was also a spell as a research assistant at the well-known Mayo Clinic in America.
By 1955, however, Arthur Kitchin was at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, pursuing cardiology as his speciality, a career in which he became a notable heart specialist of his time. Colleagues have described his research record as outstanding and his technique of investigating heart conditions as of the highest order.
But from his quiet, modest manner, you would never have guessed his achievements.
He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of both Edinburgh and London and pursued his interest in medical research until he was overtaken by illness last year. His long list of publications was further evidence of his input to the advance of knowledge in cardiology.
Beyond his career, his vast range of cultural interests included the Diagnostic Society, the Cosmoplitan Club, the Art College and Sketching Club, as well as the Department of Lifelong Learning. Not least, in retirement he returned to his beloved Classics, attending university courses in Latin and Greek, revealing again the breadth of his vision.
He also managed to find time to be a guide at Lennoxlove, the home of the Duke of Hamilton.
Dr Kitchin remained a bachelor and is survived by his sister, Dr Joanna Kitchin, a former lecturer in French at Edinburgh University.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west