OBITUARY : Dr Oswald Savage

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Oswald Savage was one of the first British physicians to specialise in rheumatology, and one of the first clinicians to use corticosteroids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

The son of a mining engineer, he was born near Nottingham, orphaned by the age of 11, and brought up by his grandmother in Derbyshire. Educated at St Bees, Cumberland, he spent much time with his older sister Betty who married Victor Robinson, chairman of the prominent Chesterfield firm Robinson and Co producing surgical dressings - whose brother Robert won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1947 and subsequently became President of the Royal Society; they encouraged young Oswald to study medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital. He represented Bart's at rugby and tennis, qualified as a doctor in 1932, and worked initially in general medicine.

He took up rheumatology when, as a young doctor, he joined Dr W.S.C. Copeman, at the West London Hospital, in the study and treatment of rheumatic diseases. On the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the RAMC, served in the Middle East and Italy, was mentioned in despatches, and as a lieutenant-colonel commanded the medical division of the 65th British General Hospital in Naples. He was appointed OBE (Military) for war services in Italy.

On demobilisation Savage was appointed Consultant Rheumatologist at the Middlesex Hospital's Arthur Stanley Institute, and also at the West London, where he helped secure the endowment and foundation of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. He was Honorary Secretary of the Empire Rheumatism Council (now the Arthritis & Rheumatism Council) for 22 years, and active in the Heberden Society, of which he became President in 1966.

On Oswald Savage's retirement in 1969 he and his wife Kitty (the writer for children Katharine Savage) moved to France, where they restored a Provenal farmhouse and entered into the life of the village, coaching local children in tennis and becoming doyens of the "Troisime Age" Club. Oswald cultivated his hobbies of gardening and art: he took painting lessons and was delighted when a landscape was hung at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1982. They returned to live in London in 1985 when Kitty's health was frail; he looked after her until her death in 1989, and continued studying painting at the Heatherley School of Fine Art until a few days before his death.

Oswald Arthur Savage, physician and rheumatologist: born Marlpool, Derbyshire 23 May 1907; married 1938 Katharine Illingworth (ne Sandford James, died 1989; one son, one stepson, one stepdaughter, and one stepdaughter deceased); died London 10 February 1995.