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 RICHARD GRAINGER HEBB, M.A., M.D.CAMB., F.R.C.P.,

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PostSubject: RICHARD GRAINGER HEBB, M.A., M.D.CAMB., F.R.C.P.,   Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:10 am

"RICHARD GRAINGER HEBB, M.A., M.D.CAMB., F.R.C.P.,
Consulting Physician and Physician-Pathologist to the
Westminster Hospital
WF, regret to record the death, on May 12th, of Dr. R. G.
Hebb. He was thle eldest son of tlle late John Hebb of
East Dulwich, and received his medical education at the
University of Cambridge and King's College Hospital.
He obtained the M.R.C.S. diploma in 1874, the M.D. degree
in 1880, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College ot
Physicians in 1891. In 1888 Dr. Hebb joined the teaching
staff of the Westminster Hospital, and held for many
yeats the two offices of physician and director of the
pathological department. He was also pathologist to
Queen Charlotte's Hospital, and for a long period secretary
and editor of the Royal Microscopical Society, which
recognized its indebtedness to him for the high standard
maintained by its journal. He served as a civil surgeon in
the Zulu war of 1879, and on the formation of the territorial
lhospitals received a Majority, but unfortunately hlis
ill health prevented him from taking an active share in the
work of the 4th London General Hospital, to which he was
posted. He lhad been an examiner in rMedicine at tlhe
Royal College of Plhysicians and in the University of
Cambridge; he held the office of reader in pathology in the
University of London. In his more active days lie was
secretary of the old Pathological Society.
No member of the staff of the Westminster Hospital in
the last thirty years exercised so great an influence over
the students or was so universally esteemed for the precision
of hiis knowledge, for hiis entire freedom from professional
cant, and for his essential probity of character;
to none did old students return in after years with more
affectionate or grateful remembrances. As a physician in
the ouLt-patient department Dr. Hebb's teaching of
plivsical signs was invaluable, for his perceptions were
acute, his mind sceptical and almost entirely free fron
self deception. But not every student could learn fromi
him. In tlle wards in later years he attracted few besides
hiis clinical clerks, but they certainly never failed for want
of drilling in the elements of clinical observation. So it
was with his systematic lectures; they were sound but
unattractive. On the other hand, hiis demonstrations of
morbid anatomy had become a tradition in Westminster:
they were at onie timne largely attended bv practitioners
and colleagues as well as by the students; they were
a continual deliglht; in themselves almost a liberal
educationi.
Of Ihis own work in pathology none but those who worked
withl him will ever appreciate its worth; he wrote butt
little, though his experience was grea-t and his memory
very remarkable. His modesty was so' ingrained that the
value of his observations was discounted by a reluctance to
publish that owed something also to a rather cynical sense
of the fleeting value of many contributions to the professional
press. One who worked with him for years says that
whiilst hiis perceptions and descriptive powers were great,
he was lacking in scientific imagination; hence it camiie
about that rmany " discoveries " by otlher workers depended
uipon observations with whiell he had been familiar for
years, but wlhichl he had failed to visualize in form or context
communicable to the world. Sclholar and gentleman,
hiis teaching will long bear fruit in the work of generations
of students who owe their fundamental ideas to him."
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