The Medico-Legal Society

Promoting medico-legal knowledge in all its aspects

Eddie Josse 1933-2020

Eddie Josse, or more formally Doctor Sylvain Edouard Josse, OBE, was a man of many interests and areas of expertise united into one by his desire to improve the lot of humanity. With a firm foundation in his Jewish faith, a knowledgeable and very supporting wife, and a copy of the Magna Carta on his study wall, he helped the very many who turned to him for his professional advice. Many of these were forensic physicians of various disciplines including police surgeons, lawyers and court experts. For many years he ran a thriving general medical practice and practised as a consultant chest physician and medico-legal expert until the day he was admitted to hospital, in early November 2019. He became deeply involved in medical politics and strove to improve the quality and standing of general practice and forensic medical practice in the United Kingdom.

An example of his work to improve standards in general medical practice occurred when he was appointed to inspect training practices. He was sent to an RAMC training practice, which although well equipped, did not arrange suitable instruction sessions nor time set aside for directed study. The officer in charge argued that his doctors were very well provided for and needed nothing more. Eddie declined to approve the practice, and very rapid changes took place.

Eddie took great care of any police surgeon who turned to him for help in times of trouble. In one case the principal of a team saw a prisoner in a police station cell and found nothing seriously amiss. The prisoner became very ill and died. The doctor was accused of negligence by the police. It was only after exhaustive investigation instigated by Eddie that it was found that the prisoner’s sister had brought a large quantity of drugs into his cell after the doctor had seen him, and these had caused his death.

Eddie was a very regular attender at Medico-Legal Society meetings, as at many other learned societies. He added value to any meeting he attended by invariably asking an interesting and penetrating question. He was a very sociable man and was always encouraging towards old friends and also to newcomers. He had a great breadth of knowledge and loved engaging in conversation- sometimes in French! He will be missed on the social side of forensic medicine, as well as on the academic side.

Daniel Haines

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