Obituary: Dr Arthur Kitchin, 87

Dr Arthur Kitchin, a distinguished cardiologist formerly of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, has died just days before his 88th birthday.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 28th May 2012, 1:06 pm

Born in Edinburgh on May 27, 1924, he was the only son of Dr George Kitchin, an English literature lecturer at Edinburgh University, and Bessie Kitchin, a former headmistress of St James Episcopal School.

Dr Kitchin spent his early years at the family home in Ramsay Gardens before they moved to a villa in Merchiston, where he enrolled at George Watson’s College, aged 15.

His studies were halted by the start of the Second World War in 1939 when he and his sister were evacuated to their grandmother’s home in Aberdeenshire.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

They returned to Edinburgh after a year at Peterhead Academy, allowing him to resume his studies at George Watson’s.

By 1942 he had been made dux of the school on top of winning a bursary competition for entry to Edinburgh University, as well as an award for outstanding performance in the Classics.

After choosing medicine, he graduated from Edinburgh with an MB ChB before leaving for London to begin a research fellowship at St Thomas’ Hospital, where he gained a PhD in physiology.

During this time, he also had spells as a house physician at both Brompton and Hammersmith hospitals.

In the post-war period that followed, his National Service saw him spend two years in the Royal Army Medical Corps, which was followed by a spell as a research assistant at the Mayo Clinic in the United States.

However, he returned home in 1955 and started work at the Western General, quickly becoming one of the renowned heart specialists of his time, with colleagues praising his research methods and investigative techniques relating to heart conditions and with many publications further advancing knowledge of cardiology.

He went on to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of both Edinburgh and London.

Outside of his profession, he had many cultural interests, which included membership of the Cosmopolitan Club, the Art College and Sketching Club, as well as the Department of Lifelong Learning, while continuing his love of the Classics by attending university courses in Latin and Greek.

He even found the time to be a guide at the home of the Duke of Hamilton, Lennoxlove.

Despite his retirement, Dr Kitchin continued to pursue his medical research, in particular heart stents and balloon angioplasty, and this continued until he fell ill last year.

Dr Kitchin had no wife or children and is survived by his sister, Dr Joanna Kitchin, a former French lecturer at Edinburgh University.