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Robert Knox (1868-1928)

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Robert Knox (1868-1928)

1928 Obituary [1]

ROBERT KNOX, M.D., C.M.(Edin.), M.R.C.P. (Lond.), D.M.R.E.(Camb.), died on the 23rd September, 1928, in his 61st year, and by his death radiology sustained a serious loss. The services which he rendered to this branch of medicine are well-nigh inestimable, and it is not too much to say that the present-day standard and status of radiology in England are largely due to his wise foresight and strenuous labour.

After receiving his medical education at Edinburgh and obtaining the degrees of M.B. and CM. in 1892, he commenced general practice in Highgate in 1894. After the discovery of X-rays he foresaw the important part which they were destined to play in medicine, and he began to devote every moment he could spare from general practice to their study. Gradually he relinquished general practice and worked as a specialist in Harley Street, obtaining the appointment of radiologist to the Royal Northern Hospital.

In addition to his private and hospital work he was always investigating and experimenting, effecting improvements in technique and obtaining better and better skiagrams of regions which had hitherto been very difficult to examine by X-rays. Soon he obtained a large private practice and he was elected radiologist to King's College Hospital and the Cancer Hospital. His work was well known abroad and many distinguished radiologists from the Continent and America came to visit him at his clinic at the last-mentioned hospital. He was equally strenuous in his efforts to improve the status and position of radiology. In all the societies dealing with the subject he served at various times as a member of council, secretary, vice-president and president, and by his counsel and wisdom always exerted a vitalizing and invigorating influence. He did much to bring the Rontgen Society into a flourishing condition in the days when it was in a languishing state, and he played a leading part in its amalgamation with the British Association for the Advancement of Radiology and Physiotherapy to form the present British Institute of Radiology. Of the latter he was the first chairman of management, and at the time of his death he was its vice-president.

He had much to do with what was probably the most important event in the history of radiology in England, viz. the establishment by Cambridge University of a Diploma in Medical Radiology and Electrology.

In 1925 an International Congress of Radiology was held in London. It was Dr. Knox who conceived the idea of this Congress and laid the plans which ensured its success. It was decided to hold a similar Congress triennially, and at the second, which was held in July 1928 at Stockholm, he was specially invited to give an address on the treatment of cancer by X-rays and radium. His reputation was international. He was an honorary member of various foreign radiological societies. For many years he was the editor of the periodical which is now the British Journal of Radiology. He wrote many important papers on radiology and was the author of an important book on the same subject.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1921. In manner he was rather reserved, but he was always kind and gentle in disposition. Under a quiet exterior there lay a boundless energy and an immense capacity for strenuous work. He lived for radiology and died in its service. The high position now occupied by radiology in England is a lasting memorial to his name.

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